NEW YORK, NY.-
Over one thousands artists from around the world submitted their work to the second annual Aperture
Portfolio Prize competition which began last summer and concluded at the end of December 2009. A team of Aperture judges has awarded the top prize to Australian photographer Michael Corridore for his project Angry Black Snake, which is an exercise in minimalism. This year, five runners-up were selected: Saudi Arabia’s Jowhara AlSaud; Colin Blakely of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Columbia, Missouri’s Joe Johnson; Los Angeles based Peruvian artist Hector Mata; and Elizabeth Pedinotti of San Francisco. Aperture is pleased to showcase the work of each artist on the foundation’s website (www.aperture.org
) for one year. The winner will also receive a $2,500 cash prize.
“The purpose of the prize is to identify emerging trends in contemporary photography and specific artists we want to support by exposing their work to a wider audience,” said Lesley Martin, Publisher of the Aperture book program, and one of the portfolio prize judges. “We were delighted with the quality, range and international scope of the submissions and on behalf of Aperture, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Michael Corridore as well as this year’s runners-up. We look forward to following the trajectory of their careers.”
’s project, Angry Black Snake, is an exercise in minimalism. Each image has been pared down to the barest of elements—urgent gestures and barely traceable figures cloaked in smoke and dust. As Corridore describes it, the project began as part of a larger portrayal of spectators at various events, including auto races, but became increasingly focused on those few moments in which the event, and the landscape in which it takes place, come into direct and violent contact, for all intents and purposes eliding the spectator from the scene almost entirely. Car race or apocalyptic collision, the true nature of these events is never fully disclosed. The few discernable figures raise their arms—in victory, or perhaps to call out in distress; eyes are covered or screened for a better view. The work is remarkable for its use of restraint as a strategy to immerse the viewer in an indecipherable yet tangible Sturm und Drang. Michael Corridore is a graduate of Photography Studies College, Australia. He opened exhibitions of this work at the Australian Centre for Photography in January 2009, and concurrently in May 2009, at the Ipswitch Art Gallery and Gippsland Art Gallery. Corridore currently lives between New York City and Sydney, Australia.
In her series Out of Line, Jowhara AlSaud
uses a labor intensive, craft-oriented process to create images that address Saudi Arabia’s stringent laws of visual censorship, all the while conflating Western expectations of feminine-Arab identity and blurring the lines distinguishing photography from the more traditional practices of drawing and etching. Jowhara AlSaud (b. 1978) holds a BA in film theory from Wellesley College and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. She recently had a two-person exhibition at Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, and a solo show at Schneider Gallery, Chicago. AlSaud splits her time between New York and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In his series, Somewhere in America, Colin Blakely
photographs Keech Avenue, his Ann Arbor neighborhood, exploring the fading rituals of small-town Midwestern life. Without inscribing nostalgia or fatalism into his tableaux, Blakely acts as a quiet observer, walking amid ghostly whispers. As he explains, "this work is a celebration of—and possibly a eulogy to—this way of life." Colin Blakely (b. 1973) received a BA from Williams College in 1995 and an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico in 2001. His work has appeared in both solo and group exhibition across the U.S. Blakely lives in Ann Arbor Michigan.
's Mega Churches series grants us entry into these cavernous arenas during the silent moments when they are absent of people. By deliberately accentuating the gaudy color palette of these spaces, Johnson compellingly examines a new iconography of fundamentalism—part theme park, part shopping mall. Johnson (b. 1978) holds a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, both in photography. He has participated in both solo and group shows throughout the United States, and has an upcoming exhibition of this work at Gallery Kayafas in Boston this spring. Johnson is currently assistant professor of photography at the University of Missouri.
The subject of Hector Mata
’s photo based project Limbo is close to his heart. Mata captured images of the physical boundary line between the U.S. and Mexico, along the length of the border from San Ysidro, California, to Boca Chica, Texas, in 2007. For Mata, the border is a metaphor for the intermediate state of identity inhabited by immigrants. As an immigrant himself, he understands the complex issue firsthand, “I have always lived in a sort of limbo, myself. Two parallel worlds exist: one defined by the country in which I live, the other residing in my dreams and heart.” Mata (b. 1963) was a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse from 1991–2007. Mata is now an independent photographer and filmmaker. His work is currently on view at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.
In her series Inside, Elizabeth Pedinotti
addresses the issues of childhood memories in meticulously composed conceptual photographic tableaux. Pedinotti’s staged photographs elaborate on seemingly insignificant moments she has experienced, investing otherwise benign, forgettable gestures and routines with imaginative potency by restaging and embellishing them with extreme close-ups and oblique perspectives. With her extreme visual curiosity, Pedinotti turns the innocent trappings of domesticity—piles of laundry, ice cream cones, spoonfuls of medicine—into darkly humorous moments, engaging us and turning our attention inward, to our own imaginations. Pedinotti (b. 1978) holds a BA in photography from the State University of New York, Albany. Her work has been included in group shows throughout the U.S. She is currently enrolled in the photography MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute.