Month: March 2017

Artist Spotlight: Adam Shulman

posted by – 03/24/17 @ 2:56pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 2.53.35 PMAdam and Adama Shulman are fresh faces in fashion photography.  They live inspired lives, constantly creating photographic experiences that build upon their various cultural influences, having lived in New York City, West Africa, and the Middle East.

Adam Shulman is a self taught photographer specializing in both digital and medium format film. He has photographed everything from Arizona landscapes to fashion photography. His Senegalese wife, Adama, is a makeup artist, stylist, and model.  She has worked in Africa, Paris, and New York City, and acquired a background in editorial fashion.

Adam Shulman was born and raised in Nashville, TN. He is a board-certified medical physicist as well as a medical philanthropist, receiving his education at Vanderbilt University.  He has spent years working in and out of Africa training local doctors on modern cancer treatments as well as donating medical equipment. Living in Dakar, Senegal with his wife, Adam spent his time training medical staff, and just recently completed a year of medical training in Accra, Ghana. He has been immersed in African culture for nearly a decade, which serves as inspiration for his most recent body of work: Gold of Africa.

The title of the exhibition, Gold of Africa, equates Africa’s inhabitants to precious, stunning Gold. Shot with 6×7 film on a Mamiya RZ67 manual camera, African bodies are covered in gold, cracked earth, and bared in front of a dark background, creating narratives of overwhelming power and beauty.

Adam spent over a year working on this series, and in doing so, he managed to “capture the mass of an entire continent behind his models eyes or under the contours of each muscle and shadow.” The gold serves as a means of suffocation at times, yet also serves as an extension of each model’s body and soul.

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http://adamaphotographynyc.com

Sisavanh Phouthavong: Legacies of War

posted by – 03/22/17 @ 9:24am

legaciesofwar_300_7x3new-400x263Sisavanh Phouthavong is one of the first professional Lao American visual artists of her generation and a professor at MTSU. Characterized by bold colors and dynamic lines, her work in our show Legacies of War pays tribute to her Laotian roots.

Her current pieces are inspired by Legacies of War, an organization that endeavors to raise awareness about the Vietnam War-era bombings and advocates for the clearance of unexploded bombs in Laos. For Phouthavong, art has always been about exploring and understanding identity. Over 5,400 Lao refugees resettled in Kansas in the aftermath of the Laotian Civil War that ended in 1975. Phouthavong was a child when her family resettled in the U.S., and her current work not only addresses the cultural and socioeconomic challenges of being a refugee but also the feelings of displacement, confusion, and struggle to understand identity.

agentorange_300_8x8_web-800x778Phouthavong’s feelings of chaos are paralleled in both her process and final image. Her works start with an image of the Vietnam War and destruction using india ink and alcohol to achieve visual texture and effects. The images are often manipulated and photoshopped together and are then used as a reference but changes as she works. Phouthavong starts with spray paint and then goes into it with acrylic and adapts as she goes. Her process parallels her experiences as a refugee because she connects with photographic images to break them apart and reconstruct them, just as memories are fragmented and experiences are fleeting. Furthermore, the unpredictable painting process demands adaptability from the artist, reflecting assimilation into another culture. Thus, Phouthavong’s pieces both convey her experiences throughout the process and reflect her feelings of those personal memories through strong contrasting colors, dynamic lines, and disorienting composition.

It is important for Phouthavong as an artist to advocate for a cause and to open up a dialogue. “It is important for me to contribute as an artist, but more importantly to have a conversation about what is going on in the word – to not be ignorant, but open to all ideas.” Moreover, what Phouthavong loves most is when she is lost for hours just creating and being in the moment just making. She says, “I don’t ever want to completely figure it out technically or conceptually. The beauty of making is the seeking. I enjoy the challenge.”