artist highlight series continued: stephen chalmers

This work, among the other artists I have been blogging about, are featured in CPW's Site Seeing: Explorations of Landscape with is co-curated by myself and our Executive Director Ariel Shanberg.

DUMPSITES by Stephen Chalmers
These are images of locations in the west where serial killers have disposed of the bodies of their victims, located through Freedom of Information Act searches, police reports, true-crime novels, and other sources..

Allen, Caroll, Gerald, Gunnar, Jacobson, Cosner, Peranteau,
Stapley, Bond, Bond Jr., O'Connor, Dubs

Jane Doe (Torso only)

This project reminds me of Joel Sternfeld's On This Site- in which he revisited and photographed locations that made the newspaper headlines when he was growing up. For example, Sternfeld photographed the motel where MLK was killed, the spot on the Ohio State campus where the students were gunned down during the anti-war protest etc... They were all shot dead-pan and included a brief statement about the incident that made that particular location significant to him.

Though these recordings of the tragically memorialized landscapes by Chalmers are documents to an extent, the use of a shallow depth of field adds an emoitional quality that prevents them from being categorized, like Sternfields, as dead pan. The ironic nature is that Sternfeld personally memorialized those locations (even if it was through a memory created by the media)- while Chalmers is living out a cultural history that is not directly his own.

Read more about Chalmers and the exhitiion here.


Woodstock said...

I look forward to see the rest of the show and the rest of Stephen Chalmers prints.

I think there is a mark that has been missed based on these two photos - I don't think it works to just take a photo of a historic site without some other feeling or emotion being brought forth.

I have no emotional ties to the sites, so they are just sites - but to capture the site in a way that shakes the senses or to have done some post-printing work to the photos might make me wonder "what happened here?"

Thank you for the reminder,

Kevin G. said...

Hi Liz,
Congratulations on the show, hopefully I'll be able to come and see it...it sounds right up my alley!

By the way, I just graduated! It's done! I can't thank you enough for your help last spring, and I'd like to send you a copy of the graduate catalog (and a DVD of my presentation once it becomes available). Could you email me with your mailing address? I've lost it since we were working together. Send it to aperturius@gmail.com. Thanks so much, and again, congrats!

Kevin G. said...

Oh, and if you happen to have any of Craig Barber's contact info, would you be able to send it to me? He was my very first mentor and I'd like to thank him too.