School of Visual Arts presents “Mesmeric,” an exhibition of thesis work by the MPS Digital Photography class of 2019. Curated by New York City gallerist and SVA faculty member Debra Klomp Ching, “Mesmeric” is on view Saturday, October 12, through Saturday, November 2, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.
MPS Digital Photography Chair Tom P. Ashe explains, “‘Mesmeric’ is, fittingly, an exhibition with work by 11 talented photographers and artists who maintained an intense focus on their thesis projects and their ideas, often blocking out other voices and distractions around them. They were in it! The exhibition showcases the class of 2019’s commitment to the continuous improvement, imagination and experimentation needed to produce transfixing bodies of photographic work.”
As exhibition curator Debra Klomp Ching expands, “The graduates of the 2019 Master of Professional Studies program in Digital Photography make photographs at a time when, seemingly, we’ve seen it all before. What more is there that could possibly entrance the viewer? The answer is that the viewer will always benefit from the untold, unique stories of the individual photographer. Specific photographers, producing images at a specific time and working in a specific way, will always bring new visions to the world and to photography. This collection of work here is no exception. The individuals present a broad range of photographs, made during an intense period of study, during which they have excelled in visualizing their own unique narratives in photographs that might just mesmerize.”
Showing a pivotal moment from her 10-minute narrative film, The Dragon Dream, and a series of monologues, Sophie Cheung explores the mental-health consequences of the great academic pressure placed on young people in Asian societies.
Yangzi Huang’s photographs in “Indirect Object” transform and elevate common objects using perspective and lighting to create visuals that are reminiscent of 1920s avant-garde still-life photography.
In “Contour,” Luiza Ladeira Lavorato celebrates the female form by bringing new photographic strategies to the classical black-and-white nude. The project is in part a reaction to the debasing of the female figure and the way this has desensitized our culture to the nude’s natural beauty.
“Overloaded” is a series of abstract images that capture Qikun Li’s emotional struggles. His goal in this project is to capture these feelings in what are, essentially, psychological landscapes.
“The Five Elements” by Kam Lin is a group of fashion photographs inspired by the “Five Elements” of metal, wood, water, fire and earth in traditional Chinese culture. The Five Elements theory explains the interaction and relationship between all things.
Alex Sim’s “Bathhouse” is a documentary study of the Korean bathhouse and its societal importance, featuring intimate portraits of customers and self-portraits of the photographer at a bathhouse owned by his father.
Xuanang Tian’s project “[me, you]” is a series of still-lifes containing fragments of mirrors and Mylar that incorporate viewers’ reflection into the image, symbolizing the many personal and social boundaries that restrict us.
HuaiYi Tsai’s images, prints and handmade book from his series “Mutations” are based on sculptures he has created from found garbage to critique people’s lack of awareness of the pollution caused by their disposal of consumable items.
The images in Ruojia Wo’s “Color After a Fashion” take the aesthetic of fashion photography into a different realm using a muted palette and a style derived from architectural and landscape photography.
“The Chinese Zodiac” by Zhou Zhou explores this important cultural concept by depicting its twelve animal signs through photographic collages that combine styled models with traditional Chinese objects and symbols.
Finally, the lifesize prints from Stephanie Zimmer’s “Inventing the Dog” are a celebration and typological study of the wide variety of purebred dogs. Bioengineered over hundreds or even thousands of years to serve a specific purpose for humans, dogs come in a remarkable range of sizes, shapes and personalities. The project’s photographs examine both this variety and the specific physical issues associated with selective breeding.
The Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography is an intensive one-year graduate degree program that addresses the digital-image capture, workflow, exhibition printing, sound, video and visual storytelling skills required of professional photographers and photo educators in the vanguard of commercial, fine art, portrait and fashion photography practices. Within the year, students are prepared to excel at producing conceptually compelling and technically outstanding images, and are ideally positioned to pursue gallery representation, editorial or commercial work, as well as high-end digital retouching and consulting careers.