RIVERWORKS Gallery exhibits explore the interplay between women and photography

Photo by mobile_gnome via Flickr Creative Commons

Zane Logan, lead instructor of photography at Greenville Technical College, first encountered the Do Good Fund in Columbus, Ga. The striking collection of images stuck with Logan, and he reached out to contacts to eventually bring a curation of the images to Greenville. The Do Good Fund is a visual narrative of life in the American South, and the images curated by Logan focus on women in the South. The exhibit, titled “Women: Selections From the Do Good Fund,” opens at the RIVERWORKS Gallery on Friday, March 2.

“When I was curating this exhibit last year, I couldn’t help but be influenced by the current events happening daily. It got me thinking about the role that photography has played throughout its history and the power dynamics that exist in photography,” Logan says. “Traditionally, unfortunately, photography has largely been a boy’s club, and that power dynamic is there no matter who is holding the camera over your subject. But traditionally, that has been a male figure and a female subject, which is true in most artistic [fields] and if not most fields in general.”

He continues, “Thinking of that, I did want to find images where the female figure was aware of the camera’s presence and they returned that gaze to the camera, which somewhat undermines that ownership of the photographer, therefore empowering the subject.”

Logan then decided to do a response exhibit, titled “Women Responding to Women,” which will on display for one weekend only April 13-15.

“I really wanted to give my female students an opportunity to respond to that collection of work but still give them enough room to make that work their own,” he explains. “I wanted them to make images of what it’s like for them to be women in the South or women artists, whether that’s a good or bad experience or somewhere in between.”

Logan selected 10 artists, including former student Joy Hart, local photographer Katie Fenske, and Greenville Tech adjunct instructor of photography Amber Eckersley.

“Mostly I am interested in seeing the South through their eyes and what it’s like to be a female in the South,” says Logan.

“While viewing the Do Good exhibition images, an initial feeling of familiarity began to morph into something a little out of reach,” Hart says. “At first, I was tempted to quickly label the women depicted — the family matriarch, the pre-teen in her room, the suburban mom, etc. It was easy to think I knew just who they were, but upon closer inspection, subtleties in their bearing or the way they addressed the camera began to surface and whisper that there was likely much more to the narrative.”

“The exhibition inspired me to aim for ambiguity and multidimensionality in the response, and to resist cliches such as that of the traditional ‘Southern belle.’ I hope to present images that invite the viewer to look past surface readings and stereotypes, ultimately challenging preconceived ideas about motherhood, family relationships, and body image,” Hart continues. “Historically, a male-dominated art world has often either objectified or idealized women. In today’s political and social climate, however, relevant work must be inclusive of the female perspective. I am excited to see how this talented group of strong, creative, female photographers is empowered to portray their viewpoint of the female experience in their own way and as they see fit.”

Images from “Women: Selections From the Do Good Fund”

“July 15th, 1975” by Cynthia Henebry
“Look to the Lord and His Strength” by Lauren Henkin
“Kelsey, PawPaw, Madison County, N.C.” by Rob Amberg

“Women: Selections From the Do Good Fund”
Where: Greenville Technical College’s RIVERWORKS Gallery, 300 River St., Suite 202
When: March 2-April 8, 1-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
Opening Reception: Friday, March 2, 6-9 p.m.

“Women Responding to Women”
Where: Greenville Technical College’s RIVERWORKS Gallery, 300 River St., Suite 202
When: For one weekend only, April 13-15, 1-5 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 6-9 p.m.



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