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a r t i s t corydon cowansage brandon bakus daria izad erin murray andrae green amie cunat josef aguilar nat matteau stone angel harrold featured: emily fuhrman

From the series Falling Photographs, 2011 17in. x 22 Archival inkjet print Emily Fuhrman

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c o r y d o n

c o w a n s a g e

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

I think it’s a tie. My mother and I both obsess over whatever we’re working on until we feel like it’s perfect. She’s a writer and an English professor and I think that has had an effect on me. My father is an architect so we have overlapping interests. When I was writing my thesis for grad school at RISD I wrote about The Architectural Uncanny by Anthony Vidler, and I later discovered that Vidler was one of my father’s professors in architecture school.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Rocks, soil, aliens.

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

Choreographing a complex dance to Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” with my identical twin sister and the other campers.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

Since I couldn’t get too far on just one tank, I would drive up to the Hudson Valley to escape the gross NYC summer.

everlasting influences?

Gordon Matta-Clark, Chris Martin, Bridget Riley, Edward Hopper, Agnes Martin, Alex Katz, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Mark Grotjahn, Amy Sillman, Julie Mehretu, David Hockney, Jessica Dickinson, Frank Stella, David Lynch, Georgia O’Keeffe, Richard Serra, Ed Ruscha, Carrie Moyer, Maureen Gallace, Ellsworth Kelly

Chimney #2 2012 Oil on canvas, 64”x50”

Fence #7 2012 Oil on canvas, 24”x30” (Right)

Façade #7 2010 Oil on canvas 106”x80” (Left)

Façade #8 2012 Oil on canvas 64”x58”

House Plant #2 2011 Oil on canvas 84”x70”

b r a n d o n

b a k u s

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

I like to believe I’m a pretty even cocktail of both my parents, but I’d say I resemble my mother the most of the two. My dad is the travelling-business-man type, so the large part of my childhood revolved around a maternal upbringing; not to say he was completely out of the picture in any way, he was just less available in most instances. In any case, I think I’ve adopted a kind of maternal nature to people; I like taking care of them, and making them happy. I think that’s why she became a doctor.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Undoubtedly cheese, although it is not just one type. It’s certainly divided into regions of taste and odor: Gruyére next to Vacherin, Goat cheese next to Mozzarella, and so on. The craters are large plots of select cheeses that humanity has excavated and mined, shipping it back to earth over the ages.

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

The first thing that pops into my mind isn’t really a favorite memory, merely a regular one. I wanted to be a geologist as a kid, and I was teaching a friend about rocks; we would pick ones up off the ground, examine them briefly and if they werent shiny enough or interesting enough, we’d chuck them. At one point he threw a fairly large rock (I’m assuming) and it landed on my head, leaving me with a bit of a bloody mess in my hair. The staff weren’t too happy with him. I don’t remember being mad.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

Although I absolutely despise it at times, going through Alligator Alley(a highway that cuts across Florida everglades) is sort of magical. Sometimes when I’m driving along it’s perfectly flat, never-ending tarmac, I like to imagine I’m on a huge treadmill, and the earth is just rolling towards and past me, while I remain stationary in my white toaster.

everlasting influences?

That list just keeps on growing. Almost everyday I manage to find something to fall in love with. It’s mostly little things, like the way the ice melts in my glass: wiggling awkwardly while my leg anxiously bounces up and down.

Leftovers on Bagdat Street, Istanbul 2012

Passer-by, Istanbul 2012

Flower Stacks 2012

Kadikรถy, Istanbul 2012

Rooster, Istanbul 2012

d a r i a

i z a d

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

If I had to choose one parent, it would have to be my father. Ever since I was a child, I have memories of following him around, looking up to him and never doubting a word he said. The older I get, the more I realize how much I took after him. He seems very serious for those who do not know him, but has one of the biggest hearts I have come across. He never pushed me to do anything I did not want to, only encouraged me to pursue my goals and passions as far as they will take me. The little things in life that can ruin someone else’s day never seemed to bother him. He never cared if dyed my hair or got stupid piercings, and would simply remind my mother that they are not permanent. I find myself resembling my father the most because I truly want to be just like him. He is the definition of an honest hard worker who is loved and respected by everyone who meets him. He gives people chances, but knows that he needs to protect himself and his family first. I want to learn as much as I can from him, and hope at least some of his determination and will power is passed down to me. I wish to be like both of my parents, because they continue to stick together and have the strength to provide for their family, which I am eternally grateful for.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

A full moon is filled with our attention and energy. People feel drawn to it, happy to see what it at its full potential. It is full of mystery and endless possibilities. It is something so far away yet so familiar to us. A full moon is full of completeness. “The moon is full of everyone’s eyes looking at it, a reflection of what they see and illumination of what happens when things come together and a light turns on inside” C.B.

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

To be honest, I never really liked camp. It was one of those things that parents have their children do in the summer and we were no exception. Growing up, my brother and I were sent to a local camp held by my school district. This consisted of gathering up all the kids from the area and making them do sports in the sun, make wooden houses amongst other crafty things and lots of other stimulating activities I’m sure you can think up. My favorite memory from Summer Rec. took place on exceptionally hot days. The adults would go to the hardware store and buy a couple of sheets of blue tarp, tie them together and bring out the hose. We then would spend an hour or two taking turns on this “slip and slide.” As I am hiding from the heat and scorching sun in my apartment right now, I am seriously considering going to the Ace down the street to re-create this memory. Luckily this time it will only be my dog and I, and none of those eight year old kids whom I never got a summer break from.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

Ah, if I had a car with a tank full of gas waiting for me downstairs right now you probably wouldn’t see me for a few days. On second thought, I’m going to pretend the car is waiting for me outside my New York home, and I was sitting upstairs in my room there writing this interview. First, I would grab some extra clothes, food and whatever else I might need to last a little while. I’d grab my dog, jump in the car and drive west out of Long Island. I’d pass through the city, say hi and bye and continue driving towards upstate New York. Every now and then, I’d make sure I knew where I was going just because I have the worst sense of direction in the world. I’d also take make sure to stop the car and get out every once in a while, since there would be no need to rush in this trip. Five or six hours later I would arrive in Clinton, New York to see my brother. He has been going to Hamilton College for the past few years, and I have had the opportunity to visit him twice up there. Upstate New York is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I would just like to spend a few days there with my brother to see what his life has been like these past years. There is something so attractive about that kind of life, where time seems to pass more slowly and people truly sit down with one another instead of busily catching up every now and then. It is the first place I would drive to if I were given the opportunity, and I hope it could happen in reality sometime soon. everlasting influences? I am influenced by anyone who dedicates their entire life perfecting a single skill, and still have the excitement and passion of a child. I look up to people who work and create because they want to, and not just to please the individuals around them. I will always be influenced by my grandparents, for teaching me to tune into animals and nature,

and tune out the unimportant negative aspects of life.

Untitled Trio 2012 Ceramic 28”x14” | 30”x13” | 26”x15”

Untitled 2012 Mixed media on canvas 48”x24”

Untitled 2011 Oil on canvas 36”x48” (Right)

Untitled Duo 2012 Cermaic 37”x11.5 | 37.5”x11”

Untitled 2012 Oil on canvas 36”x24”

e r i n

m u r r a y

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

My father. He’s the only other family member who concerns himself with making things. An untrained architect, he built our family home in the early 90s, and it was round, like a cylinder. It’s surely to his credit that I don’t see buildings in the same way as everyone else. Also, he’s stubborn, paranoid, impulsive, socially awkward, and utterly dedicated to the task at hand.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full


what is your favorite summer camp memory?

My summer camp experience was brief, I only remember meeting my first Jewish person.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

The boring answer is that I’d likely spend my tank taking reference photos, trying to find the few roads of Philly’s inner-ring suburbs that I haven’t yet travelled; however, I truly fantasize about going to Canada, our not-so-exotic neighbor to the north. Let’s assume really good fuel efficiency can get me to Montreal. For some reason I imagine it as a bizarro Philadelphia, where I’d feel simultaneously alienated and at home, the slight differences between the two places becoming crystallized. They say “distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity,” but I’ve always enjoyed mining subtleties.

everlasting influences?

Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Venturi, Jennifer Bartlett, Jane Jacobs, The Bechers, Wim Wenders, Philadelphia

A Bold Statement 2012 Graphite on paper 40”x40”

Choices, Choices 2012 Oil on panel 17”x12”

PO Box 2012 Graphite on paper 22”x22”

Outreach Services 2012 Graphite on paper 22”x40”

Us and Them 2012 Oil on panel 12”x17”

a n d r a e

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

g r e e n

Actually I couldn’t really say that I am able to identify any distinguishing characteristics that I hold or have in my personality and features that would be more from one parent than the other. I think that whatever trait or traits I may have finds its compliment within the other. That being said, in terms of preoccupation with art and art making I would say that I got that trait from my mother. From my dad I get my core personality traits my inquisitiveness, quest for knowledge, and a tireless work ethic (matter of fact, both my parents were workaholics). My mom is a professional event planner, caterer, and interior decorator so I would say that she is where my artistic lineage started so to speak. She is a competent draftswoman and has an innate sense of color and design. She has a love of crafting things and perfectionism that is very apparent in the type of work that I do. It is these two great forces in my life from which I draw for my art. I find that in my current art practice there is a combination of both parental traits, where all the work that I do is very thoughtful and research based. (I can never seem to do a painting just for the heck of it, there always has to be some form of intellectual rigor behind each piece – this might partly be because of my art training at the Edna Manley College of Art in Jamaica). Both my parents represent different aspects of my personality. From my mom I get the spontaneous artist, while my dad is the slow calculated side of things. At first when I was younger, I used to have a hard time making peace with both of these traits that reside within me. As time goes on I have come to appreciate how these characteristics have helped to make me who I am and have undoubtedly influenced my work. In Heinrich Wolfflin’s Principles of Art there is a section in his treatise on “Painterly and Linear” where he describes how painters and painting fall into two categories. And for me that is what my parents represent in my artist life. My mom represents the spontaneous artist side, which is undoubtedly painterly, while my dad represents for me linearity that encompasses my strong design sense and emphasis on drawing. I draw upon both these yin and yang sides of me to do what I do now, and I think that it has worked out well so far, if I do say so myself.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Hmm that is a tough one. If I let my mind just run for a bit I would imagine that the moon was full of cheese, not because I like cheese but because one of my earliest memories I can recall was watching cartoons that describe the moon that way. Coincidentally, my earliest exposure to art was through the medium of cartoon and comic books. This early exposure to art still influences my current art practice. The main thing that I carry with me is the drama that a work of art can imbue. This interest in drama, which stemmed from comic books and graphic novels, led me to be very interested in Baroque and Neo-Classical art early on. And as my taste deepened I was able to appreciate the drama in the paint itself. Now I live in a world where Caravaggio, DeKooning and Francis Bacon occupy the same picture plane. So going back to the question I see the full moon and it’s made from cheese—but the cheese is really paint!

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

Summer camp was a very happy time for me. It was a time to reconnect with friends that you hadn’t seen all year. One of my most memorable times there was when I taught my first art class. At first I didn’t like it, but then it kind of grew on me and since then I always knew that I would end up practicing art, as well as teaching it some day. At the present I teach at the University of Technology, in Kingston, Jamaica.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

Lately I have found myself drawn to the Leipzig school of painters. So if I were to have a full tank of gas for any vehicle of my choosing it would be a plane and I would fly it to Germany. While in Germany I would want to go to Leipzig and do a fellowship with Neo Rauch and Matthias Weicher. To me, these two painters capture the essence of what I want to do with my own work so it would be a pleasure to work with them and see how they build their images. Matthias’ paintings of empty rooms transcend paint and pigment so vividly that the works seem to give the viewer an otherworldly experience. Upon viewing the work one almost feels as if there is a presence in these spaces, but on closer inspection you realize that presence is the paint! His paintings make the paint transcend itself – from dead pigment to matter imbued with life. Rauch on the other hand plays to the other side of my sensibilities whereby he does great bombastic paintings that almost seem narrative in nature and harkens back to the time of the great history paintings of the past. Although his paintings do have some basic form of narration for the most part they defy any kind of linear reading whatsoever, and this is what intrigues me about his work.

everlasting influences?

My influences are many and varied and I draw inspiration not only from art and artists, but also music and life in general. For my art I have been great influenced by my friend Vincent Desiderio as well as the philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek.

Figure in Repose with Two Sharks 2011 Oil on canvas 75”x 55”

Alter-States (In Conversation With Col. Percy Wyndham) 2011 Oil on canvas 28” x 26”

Acquiescence (Out Of Many One) 2012 Oil on canvas 74”x 65” (Right)

How Horrid My Perception of You When I See Me Through Your Eye 2010 Oil on canvas 53” x 65”

482 (In Looking I See Nothing) 2011 Oil on canvas 65”x 48”

a m i e

c u n a t

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

In part, I hope to resemble both of my parents. My mother has a fierce attention to detail in whatever she does. Having been the daughter of a Japanese chef and the owner of a Ryokan, she has an apt for combining ingredients that makes every meal both savory and constructed with a sensitivity to the flavors of its individual components. My father can envision the development of land, and with business savviness and ambition, realize a potential of the given area. All the while they both mindfully recognize holistic affects. Like parents are, they’re also both very funny.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Cheese or rabbits with gunny sacks

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

I’ve only been to two; Japanese camp and volleyball camp. My favorite memory for both is leaving them. My parents enlisted my sister and I for a two week long Japanese language camp when we were about 5/6 years old. She and I were separated into different “barracks” with militant Japanese-American tween girls. The first night when I tried to claim an upper bunk bed, an older camper scrambled up the ladder before me, leaving me defeated on lower bed. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had there not been a deranged chipmunk problem in the building. I was not only forced to enjoy the contour of this girl’s ass sagging from the mattress above me, but also the quiet pattering of squirrel-creatures racing along the baseboards.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

I’d drive one-way to New York OR to the grocery store a bunch of times

everlasting influences?

Elisabeth Murray, Jean Arp, Richard Kalina, Fernand Leger, Yayoi Kusama, Karl Wirsum, Jim Lutes, Roger Brown, Lynda Benglis, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Carl Ostendarp, William O’Brien, Bridget Riley, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Joseph Yoakum, Stuart Davis, Piotr Chizinski, Brian Dunn, Eva Hesse, William Copley, Forrest Bess and H.C.Westermann.

Cadmium Panoply, 2012 Latex paint on wall

Catchall 2011 Acrylic, flashe on linen 72”x96”

Porosity Frames 2012 Acrylic, flashe on panel 8”x8”

Cadmium Panoply 2012 Latex paint on wall (Left)

Dusk Periphery 2012 Acrylic on canvas 48”x60”

j o s e f

a g u i l a r

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

I find myself resembling a combination of my mother and step-mother primarily because they both raised me growing up. I actually met my step-mother in 1993 when my family moved back to 18th Place and Hoyne. We all had some great times watching American Gladiators with KFC. I must note however, that I often get that I resemble my father the most with his strange sense of justice, wicked street smarts, handsome good looks, and a deep love for the psychological and urban studies. He came and went through most of my life so it’s hard for me to say for sure. I might be inclined to agree based on those facts.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Fairy dust, werewolf hair, silver nitrate, ghosts, reflected sunlight, sand, craters, vampire bats, green cheese, melancholy, infinite sadness, crashed zeppelins, Led Zeppelin, dreams, tentacle monsters, NASA space gear, dried food bars in aluminum packaging, platinum, rocket fuel, Martians, cheerleaders, diamonds, space rocks, radiation, Luna, Mattress Giant, and a guy named Bob. I guess that’s why everyone always acts peculiar when the moon IS full. That might also be why freaks come out when the moon is full.

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

Summer camp was always one of those places where you can go to reconnect with nature. That being said, summer camp for someone who lived in urban dystopia most of their life, summer camp always seemed a bit disparate in it’s presentation of nature as this all encompassing force that you only experience part of the time and only in parts. There was one memory I do hold onto quite fondly despite this. One time we had a field trip to a pond out deep into the boonies where a tower was set up on a pond. This tower was two stories high, had diving boards, and the only way up were two ladders on either side. This stood out to me because the pond was only 2 feet deep on all sides. Perhaps the pond was larger in its heyday, but now this posed a very serious conundrum to me: Two stories high versus two feet deep. Yet kids were jumping off and landing unscathed. It made no sense! So I figured I’d let logic stop right there and try it myself. I mean everyone looked like they were having so much fun. So off I went and going with the flow I jumped off and landed, and let me tell you, it was a landing! Water and black sand, dirt, or whatever it was flew everywhere. And I had a great time, so from that I’ve always taken with me that sometimes logic is the one that doesn’t make sense. Sometimes you just gotta jump.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

Either to the bathroom or to Las Vegas. What kind of gas are we talking about here? Actually, I don’t know why but I feel like everyone always says Las Vegas. I mean, me personally I would just like to bake in the sun and watch the tragic human emotions that play out when a person “loses it all.” But you really can’t lose it all, can you? I mean there will always be someone there to give you that $20 or whatever so you can just have one more go. It takes a lot for those people to stop helping you, but when they do, you can always still panhandle. Also you will still have yourself. And maybe at that point you may not have anyone turn to, nobody left to ask. I guess you can be all alone. kind of like Elvis when he died on the john. He was in Las Vegas. You could also feel like your all alone when your car dies on your way to Vegas because the average car holds 16 gallons of gas, and even with a modest 31 highway miles per gallon, you would have only made 491 miles on your 1,751 mile long journey. In that case, logically, you probably couldn’t get that far. So actually I might choose Indiana instead, they have casinos and beaches there too, right? everlasting influences? I’ve have quite a few and all have influenced me in very different ways. First I’d say that I have a deep appreciation for everything 80’s primarily the horror movies that came out around that time. They were not afraid of being what they were even if technology was crappy and they could not produce the “quality” effects of today. John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Joel Schumacher, Stephen King, George Romero. I’m never gonna forget those guys even though I’ve never met them. My family has always had a major influence on decisions, likes, dislikes, music, and art tastes because in some very strange way, they just get it. They also keep me grounded when I feel like I’m flying into space.My boxing coach Andre who told me “When you feel like you need to give up, like you have no more left, that is when it’s really important to keep going.” and “When you cheat, you’re cheating yourself.” You know, usual boxing coach fare stuff, it’s still good to hear at least once in your life. Carlos Cortez who time and time again reminded me to “Keep making art, it’s important!” I also feel really bad for getting into his print supplies as a kid. but I didn’t know any better then. Well actually, I would still get into them now, I guess I must’ve known better. Lastly but not leastly, I’ll never forget CoCo.

Lie Together, Die Together 2012 Contact Print 8” x 10”

Entanglement 2011 Contact Print 8” x 10”

Derelict 2011 Contact Print 8” x 10”

Raillery 2011 Contact Print 8” x 10” (Right)

Portait 2011 Contact Print 8” x 10” (Left)

n a t

m a t t e a u

s t o n e

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

Well, physically I resemble my Dad. We have very similar body parts except that I am taller than him and my hair is not as wavy. My mother has a gap between her two front teeth just like me but that is where our physical resemblances begin and end. My parents never argued in front of me and always agreed on everything. So mentally I couldn’t tell you which one i resemble more. We are one.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Enriched wheat flour (Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic acid), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vegetable Shortening (Contains Partially hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Cottonseed Oil and/or Coconut Oil and/or Palm kernel oil and/or Palm Oil), Soy Flour, Dutched Cocoa (Processed WithAlkali), Cocoa, Gelatin, Baking Soda, Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavoring, Sodium sulfite.

what is your favorite summer camp memory?

When I was 11 I went to Super Camp. It was located at a small liberal arts college in New Hampshire. I learned how to think outside of the box and speed read. We slept in very small dorm rooms and my roommate was a very socially awkward religious fanatic that was sent there to try and learn how to make friends. He was thrilled to learn I went to a catholic school but I told him I wasn’t too into god. He asked me if jesus was outside of our door knocking where would I be. I said laying in bed with a pillow over my head. He then asked me why I was so comfortable sleeping in a room with a total stranger. I told him he seemed nice enough. He asked me if I would be upset if he played with himself while I slept and I laughed. He told me he could rape me while I slept and I ignored him. I was a little scared but played it cool. He then asked what color would your urine look if you only drank coke for two months. I said probably dark yellow. He then described the various forms of dark sludges that he imagined. A week later I could read a novel in an hour and I made many different friends from around the country that I have never talked to since I left.

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

I would drive back to my childhood.

everlasting influences?

I do not really have influences as in icons or heros. I am most influenced by my memories. My perception of popular culture and my day to day social interactions seem to influence me the most. I am influenced by the true meaning of nature. Nothing is unnatural. I am driven by the results of creation.

Untitled 2012 Digital image

Untitled 2012 Digital image

Untitled 2012 Digital image

Untitled 2012 Digital image

Untitled 2012 Digital image

a n g e l

h a r r o l d

which parent do you find yourself resembling most & why

I resemble my father the most. I’m reasonable, lanky, round nosed, thin, yellow boned olive complexion, sad eyed, and beautiful. We have really similar personalities and a spot on sense of humor.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full


what is your favorite summer camp memory?

I never went to Summer Camp. I grew up in Chicago, and for most of my childhood I stayed home, played in the alley, played with bricks, ants, water and dirt. My cousins and I made up games like this one called, “close your eyes and open your mouth”. It was pretty gross, one time my cousin fed me some grapes that were going really bad, so I gave her some cat food and she said, “What is this? PEANUTS?!”

where would you go with a full tank of gas?

I don’t have car, and I don’t know how to drive, so I don’t really understand where a full tank would be able to take anyone.

everlasting influences?

My grandparents, parents, Barbara Degenevieve, Liz Nielson, Kahlil Gibran, Jean Pierre Melville , Chris Marker, Peter Greenaway, Jon Chacon and children.

Untitled 32”x40”

Untitled 32”x40” (Left)

Untitled 36”x60”

Untitled 11”x14”

Untitled 11”x14”

denying the void with emily fuhrman T

he cafe on the lower level of the Art Institute of Chicago is frenetic with nervous energy. The chatter is incessant, anxious. Graduation is days away, and that inevitable despair that confronts the future, casts its ambivalent stare into the faces of 2012’s senior class. Everyone’s doing well not to think about it, even if it is the content of the conversations swirling around in here as the constant horde filters in and out of the cafe. For photographer Emily Fuhrman this is among the few precious instances she has left with her classmates, this school, this city. After graduation she will be moving to Cleveland with her husband where he’ll be attending graduate school. This takes Emily away from a valuable resource for her work--the Adler Planetarium and its team of astronomers and astrophysicists--yet affords her an entirely new space in which she can explore and muse. She greets the move with optimism. We post up a table with ‘Zine co-founder Cody Rae Knue far enough away from the chaos to hear each other speak without too much distraction, which finds us anyway since everyone here knows each other and realizes this may be the last time they ever see these people again. A paper airplane slices through the space between us into the side of her face from over the partition that separates the dining area from the lines of people and the trays under heat lamps and the noise of clanking serving dishes. The assailant is friendly. Fuhrman’s work so far has relied upon finding herself within vast distances. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, she received her AFA in photography from the Delaware College of Art & Design in 2010 before moving to Saugatuck, Michigan for a stint at Oxbow School of Art. She made the move here to Chicago for her BFA in Photography and Sculpture at SAIC, but her head is in the stars lightyears away from this city. While she travels across the country to develop her craft, she explores the deep recesses of the cosmos for the content of her work, the themes playing off the dichotomy of the human condition placed against the overwhelming backdrop of infinite space. Her photography is an exploration that intends to begin a conversation about the ideas she illuminates through her work, even if it is a dialogue with one’s self. The exploration is not of outer space, but--as she puts it-- “the relationship between the human body and the physical universe,” the themes playing with attitudes of “personal & cosmic spaces, intangibility, and the behavior of light.” We are the fleeting creatures of a strange planet in a distant galaxy that is microscopic to the rest of the universe; and yet, for all we know we are the epitome of cosmic evolution: the intelligent, living

written by dustin gregory

Conical Object on Bed (from the series Home Space) 2011 Archival inkjet print 17”x 22”

organized-matter-in-motion. For Emily Fuhrman, knowing that the same elements that comprise the timeless matter of the universe are the very same as those that compose her body empowers her regardless of her slight size within the ever-stretching fabric of space. “I feel like that’s actually really important,” she considers, “and, in some ways, it’s a fruitless contemplation to figure out where you fit, but in other ways I feel like thinking about how my body is made of these elements kind of makes me feel very large and not small at all, and also kind of important, and that’s thinking a little bit better about life.”

conversations with emily fuhrman

From the series Falling Photographs 2011 Archival inkjet print 17”x22”

I’m reminded of a despairing conversation with a friend years ago as we looked to the moon and spoke of our infinitesimal existence amidst the massive, crushing bodies of space, and I feel adequately schooled by this art school photographer-monk. I ask as basic a question I can muster to find some footing in this intangible context of existential philosophy and theoretical astrophysics, and promise that subsequent inquiries will be more engaging for an artist of her interests. The wonderful thing about Emily’s character that comes through in our conversation is how unassuming she is, how she seems to not realize how compelling, how brilliant, are the concepts she’s conveying through her work. What’s the first thing our readers should know about your work? “A lot of my work is dictated by what I’m interested in at the time, and it changes based on my mood. Right now I’m interested in the study of the universe, science, and photographing the universe through telescopes. In my most recent project I took direct imagery that I found through NASA & through local astronomers here in Chicago, and used that imagery in my work.” The work Emily refers to here is her recent Falling Photographs series. The images she found through NASA and her friends at Adler are seen suspended in motion over white canvases. The images vary from iconic photographs to what can be perceived as empty space. Each casts a shadow, but some are displaced, giving these photographs the appearance of having two images within the blank canvas. She raves about how cooperative the scientists at Adler were in talking with her about astronomy and astrophysics. She has the highest compliments for the valuable time Joe Guzman gave her in their contact with one another, whether at the planetarium or at the small public gatherings he hosts for the purpose of bringing people together and offering them the telescopes to look through and admire the celestial lights and bodies of deep space. How much time did you spend at the planetarium, not necessarily talking with the scientists or employees there, but just wandering its halls and absorbing all the images? “Not that much, actually. I’ve been there a few times, but I spend a lot more time reading. I love reading school textbooks about astronomy. It’s great; I love that.” So when it comes to outer space you’re interested in the science behind it, not just the imagery? Astronomy, Astrophysics- “--theoretical physics, the images, the study, and also the philosophy side of it as well. Thinking about it in terms of life, and thinking about what it means to be a human in the universe, and how we’re connected, and how the elements in your body are literally made in the stars. That matter is the same matter that is in your body. The iron in your blood came from the core of a star, which supernova-ed, and that’s in your blood, you know? It’s mind-blowing.”

With your interest in the scientific aspects of the universe, why is photography your medium for getting involved and expressing your own ideas about it--or questions? "Photographing the universe is probably the only way we can access it. We can't see things that are light years away, so we have to photograph it, often in wavelengths that our eyes can't see." Is your intent behind placing your viewers in these remote points in outer space escapist? Or is it meant to be enlightening--maybe a reality check? "I want to know how this space over here relates back to me. It's not so much getting away as a way of trying to understand and bring it the self relates to everything else in the cosmos." I want to talk about the void. Images of deep space are often conjured up to visualize "the void." But seeing your Falling Photographs gave me this idea that space is still material that exists within some actual, separate void. "I love talking about that...that word actually came up in my research for the Falling Photographs project, and I wanted to play with that word. Usually you think of void and you think of blackness, and that's actually the reason why I chose to use a white background in all of the images. So the Falling Photographs exist in this void, but it's not black--it's white. "Then the shadows of the photographs become like windows that may go into another void. The photograph that I took from the Hubble Telescope is just a tiny sliver of what that telescope saw, a tiny sliver of the sky that kind of becomes its own portal into that other space that we can't access here; we have to look at it through photgraph." The shadows are wormholes to other images of space that exists within yet some other void? "I was thinking about--can there be empty space, is space empty? And the answer is no, there is no space without matter in it. I think the word space might just be a way of using language to describe matter just to be able to talk about what's there. Space isn't separate, space is matter." And that's why you used white instead of black for your backdrop? "White, for me, kind of got farther away from what we might consider being empty. Black is more empty than white." Even though black is the combination of all colors. “White is the image of all light.� Emily responds only after pausing to fully absorb our questions, giving careful thought to her answers and each word and the sequence of her remarks. Few comments like this come like spitfire off her tongue; but when they do they are astute and relevetory. We let this settle, and move on.

It's evident that these images are caught in motion. The title of the collection is Falling Photographs. What ideas do you want your viewers to take away from your images, which are still images that you purposefully put into motion yourself? What statement are you trying to make regarding motion? "Motion was the entire process--not just the photographs themselves, but in shooting them. I would set up my camera and drop the photograph, bend down, pick it up, and do it again and again. So the motion of me doing that became important as well, and then freezing the motion of the falling photograph was definitely the whole point: to use the flash as a way to stop it. The way that some of the photographs fell, they're highly distorted, some of them are kind of sideways, or totally sideways. And seeing the distortion of this flat image and flat photograph gives you this sense that it's in motion--but it's still crisp-- so you know that it was moving, but it's stopped." Is that for the sake of concept or affect? "Both. I think that the photograph is kind of another way to read something that's happening and even through telescopes, you may not be able to perceive movement out in that nebula or out in that galaxy, but it's moving away from you actually, very quickly; but photographs kind of function as a way to stop that for a moment to be able to look at it better." So you're recording that event? "Recording, yes. Documenting, and collecting information." When you talk about documentation, and especially recording data, you sound more like a scientist than a photographer. The approach you take in this series--the repitition of your process in photographing and choosing which images to include that best fit your series--follows the basic sequence of the scientific method. You're conducting experiments. Do you liken yourself to a scientist, or ruminate on this play between art and science? "I enjoy studying these things and trying to understand them, but I talk about it differently than an astronomer or theoretical scientist might. I feel like taking that information from science and putting it into the art context kind of changes it--for me personally, and hopefully for somebody who is viewing it--and might make it easier to understand, or might just prompt other questions. That's good, I feel like, to remove it from the science world and put it into the art realm." It's fascinating, having seen the Falling Photographs series and now hearing about your process behind it, that your photography captured the same surprises as many scientific experiments will. New phenomena emerge as a consequence of your input in the process, things you weren't looking for initially that hadn't been part of the original inspiration for the project that happen nonetheless and are interesting to document. How the images are captured on film as they fall and the effect that presents is one example, but what's intriguing is the shadow displacement in your images. Some of the photos have what seem to be natural shadow castings as a result of the lighting; but others have a shadow that is disconnected from the photograph so that there are two separate images appearing on the canvas, as though the photograph exists in two places at once. Emily nods along in patience.

From the series Falling Photographs 2011 Archival inkjet print 17�x 22�

When I saw this my mind immediately recalled the double-blind electron test that showed how matter at the quantum level exists in multiple places at the same time, and it isn’t until there is something to document its position that it becomes fixed in space, which is your expertise. I know you’re aware of the phenomenon, so my question is whether you wanted to play with this natural paradox, or if, as in the original experiment, it was an accidental effect? “I definitely was conscious of what was happening, but a large part of that project was actually chance. I just dropped the photograph and it fell on its own. I did it over and over and over again, hundreds and hundreds of times, and then I took all of those images and narrowed it down to the good ones. I was in control of the light source, and the object fell the way it was going to. But the light source was something I had control over. Gravity controlled the rest.” I’m glad you bring up light. You write about light being “intangible and universal and fundamental within the universe.” You say you had control over the light source. What can you tell us about your use of light in this project, or even your thoughts on light in general? Did you let the light remain a constant and adjust the objects, or did you manipulate the light source itself? “It sounds kind of corny to say, but I am obsessed with light. Without light there is no vision, and that’s amazing to me. I kind of worship the photon because photons were here first in the universe after the big bang. There were photons flying around all over the place, and their presence helped to facilitate the creation of other fundamental particles and elements that made clouds of dust and then galaxies...photons were first, and on that level I feel like light is maybe the most important thing ever, you know? That’s really great. “So yeah, I definitely manipulate light the way I want it to be. With falling photographs I held my flash, I chose how I wanted it to be and how I wanted the light to hit the photograph, which threw the shadow somewhere else depending on how far away I was from ther actual object, how bright the light was.”

Cosmic Doors 2010 Latex, blue and black pigment, burlap, rope 20ft. x 3.5ft. x 10ft

Now let me turn a previous question around since you have a relationship now and familiarity with the astronomers: would any of the scientists involved in the photography or analysis of these images consider themselves artists? Or at least see the connections between the two mediums? “Probably, but they wouldn’t admit it to you. Most scientists claim that they dont know a thing about art; but I think that they actually know more than they think they do because a lot about art is just thought, and thinking about things in different ways. Scientists do that, maybe a little bit differently, but they would probably stay away from art at all costs. Which is why talking to people at Adler and the Chicago astronomer crew has been really great. They’re excited about the work that they do, and hearing them talk about it, even if they dont quite understand it, they know that they love it, or they know that art is a great way to translate it for people and just prompt people to think about it more.” So the two fields aim to bring people to an understanding of the nature of the universe? And you’re here in the middle as the liason between the two? “Although it’s important to me that the astronomers and scientists are working to help people understand, I think that as the artist it may not be as important for me personally to do that. I want to make work that talks about that, but doesn’t teach you something--not really. It’s more like a conversation about it, and a way to get someone to just think about it-not understand it fully--but just to think about things that they don’t normally think about, and maybe become more interested and go talk to some scientists about it.” What provoked the conversation for you? Do your questions regarding the universe, and where you as a human being fit within it, stem from art and photography, or from science and the laws that govern or organize the universe? “I think that my interest in these things happened through photography. I’ve always been into science, but i feel like working with photography as an artistic medium and thinking about light and chemical reactions definitely prompted me to read everything I can, and my interest in the cosmos now has just gotten bigger. First it started with photography, and how light affects film and how the silver works, but it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and now I’m at the cosmos. So I dont know what there is after that...maybe life, I guess, maybe our existence.” How that arises out of the cosmos? “Maybe we come back. Maybe thinking about something so vast is going to be this huge cycle of interest getting bigger and bigger, then falling back on itself, maybe repeating.” Which brings us back to the microcosm: just as the universe expands, and perhaps contracts upon itself as some theories propose--and it does this again and again infinitely through time-- your interest expands further toward the consequences of this drama until it collapses back into the more fundamental questions of cosmic origin. You are the universe- --”It is you.”

Hand with Hair on Towel (from the series Home Space) 2011 Archival inkjet print 17�x22�

Anti-Cushion (from the series Home Space) 2011 Archival inkjet print 17�x 22�

We let our wheels spin a while on the question of objective meaning in the universe before we move on to the new work Emily’s been doing. She thinks maybe not, referring to perception and how meaning is contingent on the human viewer. I want to bring up Berkely, but that’s a tangent for another day and another venue that serves good bourbon. The focus of Emily’s new imagery is still space, only space much closer to home. Her images include a couch with a cushion covered by a trash bag titled “Anti-cushion.” Another--”Mouth Pinhole”--is of another tiny photo resting in someone’s mouth--yet another portal. Her humor in light of the seriousness of the quandaries her photographs elicit only make her work and personality that much more accessible. She insists the photographs of herself in her self-portrait project (photographs of herself in different areas of her own living space) and the objects around her apartment aren’t part of any project she has in mind. “That work was kind of exploring my own personal space in my apartment,” she tells TtZ, “and how these strange things happened to me and my body--or my couch--and how they relate to some other weird thing that I’m thinking about. That project is very unresolved right now.” The themes here are the same, a project akin to the Falling Photographs series. Returning to the notion of the microcosm, Emily’s apartment becomes the universe, herself the object that the other items around her apartment orbit around, and the exploration is how they all function around each other, how she functions amongst it all. The crux of this project is the interaction of objects within one another’s space, and to what purpose. Emily wants to continue her Falling Photographs series as well with this play of potentially opposing, or even cooperative forces in mind. “Falling Photographs might be a huge project. I’ve been collecting some more imagery, so I think I want to do some more. So far there have been just single images for each photograph; maybe I want more than one in there, maybe I could get some help with dropping more than one at a time, and see how they interact with each other.” Whether the photographs hit each other or fall out of the frame, the consequence is not as important as the happening itself. Nothing we can perceive that is of any consequence exists in its own universe. Any thoughtful study of space must come to terms with objects interacting in that of others’. Space, and the placement of any object in it, must take into account existing matter in motion. Otherwise, “we cant know where anything is,” Emily adds. “Unless we compare it to something else, there is no position.” Emily’s favorite planet is Jupiter.

please tell us what the moon is full of when it is full

Geologically, the Moon is full of basalt rock, Anorthosite (a type of igneous rock) and layers of fine lunar regolith (a pulverized mix of minerals formed by ages of meteoric bombardment). Chemically, the surface of the Moon is full of mostly oxygen and silicon, as well as iron, calcium, aluminum, and magnesium, among other elements. Topographically, the Moon is full of millions of craters formed approximately 4 billion years ago in a period of heavy bombardment by meteorites, asteroids, and comets (that also pelted the Earth and other planets). This information is tremendously significant to the exploration and study of the solar system—and it is both curious and exciting that after centuries of gazing up at the Moon we have only very recently begun to investigate it directly in the 1960’s and 70’s with the Apollo landings. Culturally, the Moon is full of mythology, art, legend, deities, and magic, but perhaps most importantly, it is full of curiosity. I think the Moon is full of the promise of discovery—a gateway to our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe. Besides affecting our ocean tides, illuminating our night with reflected sunlight, stabilizing the Earth’s axis of rotation and other physical phenomena, it draws our eyes up into the night sky, our first vehicle with which to wonder and wander about the cosmos.

From the series Falling Photographs 2011 Archival inkjet print 17in. x 22

t h a n k

y o u

to the participating artist

to be considered for the next issue email the following: 8 images at 300dpi, minimum size of width 14xin - word document containing title, year, medium, dimensions contact information (website or email)

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Tabletop Zine | June/July 2012  

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