The Columns

McCarthy Gallery Hosts Collaboration by Jessie Mann and Liz Liguori

— by on April 7th, 2016

“Electromagnetograms,” a collaboration by Jessie Mann and Liz Liguori, will open on April 7 in the McCarthy Gallery of Holekamp Hall at Washington and Lee University. It will remain on view until September 2016.

The McCarthy Gallery will host an opening reception and artists’ talk on April 7 from 5:30–7 p.m. The exhibit and artists’ talk are free and open to the public.

The electromagnetogram, a laser exposed and chemically painted piece of photo paper, pushes the boundary between painting and photography. These images remind the viewer of photography’s latent painterly tendencies, and conversely, painting’s light capturing action.

It is an effort at isolating surface, saturation and rhythm, in the manner of abstract expressionists, but, using the modal qualities/ontological structures of photography. The artists are using photo chemicals and the purified light of lasers to paint with light and exposure.

“Just as painting, once freed from its responsibility to accurately reflect the world, expanded into impressionism and then abstraction, traditional photography has likewise expanded its repertoire of image making into impressionism and abstraction,” said Mann and Liguori.

“As with painting,” they continued, “we are seeing photographers redeploy traditional techniques to create new and unique images that are no longer tied to reflecting the world. Instead, photographers are now free to explore the lines, texture and color of the medium isolated from content—just as the abstract painters did with painting.”

Mann is a painter, writer and conceptual artist, whose paintings have been featured in various national publications and galleries. As a conceptual artist, Mann has collaborated with many artists, such as Katy Grannan and Justine Kurland.

An ongoing collaboration with photographer Len Prince deals expressly with the phenomenology of the collaborative subject in art. Selections from this series, titled “Self-Possessed,” are in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty and The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. The series has traveled to New York’s Danziger Projects, the Cathy Edelman Gallery in Chicago, the Fay Gold Gallery in Atlanta and the Adams Gallery in Washington.

Mann, a member of W&L’s Class of 2004, is a doctoral student at Virginia Tech doing research on the cognitive neuroscience of virtual neurorehabilitation.

Liguori is a photographer and lighting artist originally from New York. She worked as a photographer at Next magazine producing over a dozen cover images, and has shown her work in New York and Virginia. As a lighting artist, she has had residencies at various nightlife places in New York such as Limelight and Webster Hall. She also has been a guest artist with the Joshua Light Show. Liguori designed a unique lighting interface using lasers and prisms, and her lighting systems were used to create the collaborative works shown in the McCarthy Gallery.

The McCarthy Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.