I’m fascinated by the persuasive power of photography and its unique role in shaping our image of the world and negotiating what we believe to be real or true. As two-dimensional fragments of time and space all photographs vacillate between fact and fiction, concealing as much as they reveal. Exploiting the camera’s monocular point of view for both Representations and Nature Morte, I create two-dimensional photographic documents of three-dimensional drawings, remaking the three-dimensional to appear as crude and simple line drawings. By confusing two distinct methods of representation and encouraging the observation of subtle detail, I’m asking viewers to examine the deceptive nature of appearances and re-consider the false transparency of the photograph.
Cynthia Greig surveys contemporary art spaces from across the globe, placing the gallery itself on display. Her elegantly minimal photographs present an unexpected shift in perspective, rendering its interior spaces as a vast landscape—an uncharted territory with its own particular history. Concentrating on minute and overlooked details, her images expose the traces of human presence and time embedded within the starkness of its architecture. Greig deconstructs the white cube, expanding on the themes of vanitas and manifest destiny, and the delicate balance between the permanent and ephemeral.
Gallery Horizons-Bergamot Station
For this exhibition, Cynthia Greig surveys contemporary art spaces from across the globe, placing the gallery itself on display. Her elegantly minimal photographs present an unexpected shift in perspective, rendering its interior spaces as a vast landscape—an uncharted territory with its own particular history. Concentrating on minute and overlooked details, her images expose the traces of human presence and time embedded within the starkness of its architecture. Greig deconstructs the white cube, expanding on the themes of vanitas and manifest destiny, and the delicate balance between the permanent and ephemeral.
In Advance of an Exhibition
Photographs and a video loop documenting the transformation of the floor and wall in my Detroit studio to resemble a section of Fred Torres Gallery in New York, in advance of my exhibition, "The Nearest Distance," October 2014.
"The sequence of video stills reveals the process of recreating in her studio an accurate approximation of the particular gallery space she has photographed. In doing so, Greig draws attention to the language of exhibition display, and the processes that recur naturally when preparing gallery walls for exhibition. The video reveals painterly gestures as subtle overlays of white tones suggest spatial depth, and uneven sections of the wall patched with plaster filler evoke the textures of oil or acrylic paintings. When the wall is sanded, primed and finished, the illusion of a flat, expansive, pristine surface transpires. The wall becomes as pleasurable and satisfying to look at as the art that hangs on it. These images draw attention to the grammar and values of modernism, and question the boundaries and overlaps between art and environment, where does art begin or end? Here, Greig reveals that it begins and ends in awareness and in its making."
Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition. Michael Petry. Thames and Hudson, London , 2013 Cynthia Greig: Subverting the (un)Conventional. Dick Goody. Oakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MI, 2010 Women in Pants. Text by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig. Harry N. Abrams, NEW YORK, 2003 Contact Sheet 117. Jeffrey Hoone. Light Work, Syracuse, NY, 2002 The Body Aesthetic: From Fine Art to Body Modification. Tobin Siebers, editor. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2000 ,
Inspired by photography's unique role in negotiating what we believe to be real or true, my work explores the nature of representation and the exchange of influence between visual perception and experience. For me, the coexistence of contradictions marks the moment when apparent realities collide. When we recognize that something is both askew and right on the mark, confusion and/or enlightenment usually follow. Humor and irony often color my work as I play with visual miscues and the deceptive nature of appearances. I’m interested in investigating how the visual image transmits information and values, infiltrates our consciousness, occupies our memories and influences our understanding of the world we live in.
For both "Representations" and "Nature Morte" I create photographic documents of three-dimensional drawings by whitewashing ordinary and familiar objects and then drawing directly onto their surfaces with charcoal. I then photograph the resulting hybrids with color negative film and enlarge the images in the darkroom.
Cynthia Greig is a visual artist living and working in metropolitan Detroit. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan in 1995, and an MA in art history from the University of Iowa with additional studies in filmmaking, and BFA in printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is in the public collections of the Light Work Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, George Eastman Museum, Smith College Museum of Art as well as private and corporate collections. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Greig was one of 9 visual artists to receive an Artist Fellowship from the Kresge Foundation in 2015. Also an avid collector of 19th and early 20th century photographs, with Cate Smith, Cynthia co-authored the book of photographs, Women in Pants: Manly Maidens, Cowgirls and Other Renegades, published in 2003 by Harry N. Abrams.
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