Curator’s Statement: Amy Smith-Stewart

What Do You Believe In

A group exhibition of sixteen artists exploring how photography shapes our ideas and informs how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Works in the exhibition will range from installation, video, sculpture, and photography and span the mystical, ideological and political.

The show takes its name from a work in the exhibition by Jen DeNike. Comprised of eighteen 8” x 10” black and white photos that depict the artist in deep outer space. Made with a large format view camera and found collaged elements captured by NASA’s Hubbel Space Telescope, the photos together form a circle, spelling out “What Do You Believe In” using the codes of semaphore flag language—a visual mode of Naval communication.

Many of the works look at identity, particularly our obsession with images and how it shapes self-awareness. Photography captures, suspends, even transcends a moment or series of events in time. Works in the show present us with imagery both real and conjured: a dying monarch butterfly’s final breath, journeys into deep space, cycles of creation and destruction, personas, portals and other worldly dimensions, cultural artifacts and pop icons. But what all of the artists attempt to show us is where we as a society are and where we might be heading.

Amy Smith-Stewart