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Context 2024

juried by Sarah Kennel

Filter Photo is pleased to announce Context 2024, our tenth annual survey exhibition of contemporary photography. This edition was juried by Sarah Kennel—the Aaron Siskind Curator of Photography and Director of the Raysor Center at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts—and features the work of 23 artists.

Juror's Statement

We are inundated on the daily with an ocean of images, yet the clarity, finesse, and power of the photographs in Context 2024 speak to a collective desire for making work that means something, that can cut across the blaring noise. Across portraiture, documentary, landscape

and experimental work, the artists in this exhibition show us that in these troubled and troubling times, photography retains the capacity to reveal, to connect, to delight, and to bear witness, even as the medium continues to evolve and shape-shift.

The resurgence of history as a key photographic concern shapes several documentary projects that trace the origins of our collective myth-making; others bear witness to who we are and how we live, both together and apart from each other. Wry, lucid, and penetrating portraits and self-portraits powerfully assert presence and subjectivity and invite us to see identity formation as a subtle, complex, and shifting phenomenon. Some reveal cracks in the American dream, others chart complex global histories, and others still link us to our attachments and our losses, both personal and collective.

Pictures, of course, accrue meaning over time and through social engagement. Several artists cannily reuse found imagery or draw on established pictorial traditions to expand meaning. Some interrogate or interrupt photographic conventions and materials as a way to call attention to urgent political, social and environmental issues. Other artists carefully conjure an intimate, tangible sense of place, inviting us to both consider our relationship to our environment and imagine alternative ways of being.

Featured Artists

Sara Abbaspour, Juror's Choice

Jimmie Allen

Peter Cochrane

Yvette Marie Dostani

Matt Eich

Charlotta Hauksdottir

Khim Mata Hipol

R. J. Kern

Tom Lau

Denise Laurinaitis

Tanya Lunina

Andriana Nativio

Laura Allen Noel

Luigino (Louie) Palu

Jason Pevey

John Prince

Jared Ragland

Astrid Reischwitz

Kathryn Rodrigues

Maggie Shannon

Forrest Simmons

Mitchell Squire

Constance Thalken

Brad Ziegler

About the Juror

Dr. Sarah Kennel joined the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in 2021 as the inaugural Aaron Siskind Curator of Photography and Director of the Raysor Center for Works on Paper. A specialist in nineteenth and twentieth-century photography, Kennel has curated, published, and presented widely on topics ranging from nineteenth-century French photography and historic photographic processes, to European modernism and understudied women photographers. She has also written extensively on the relationship between painting and photography in nineteenth-century France and completed a dissertation on the relationship between dance and the visual arts in early twentieth-century culture. 

Before joining VMFA, Kennel held positions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, where she most recently curated an exhibition on women photographers and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where she co-curated the acclaimed touring exhibition Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings as well as a retrospective of the work of Olivia Parker. Dr. Kennel launched her curatorial career at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. There, she organized the exhibitions Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris (2013), Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music (2013), The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Past 100 Years (2012), and In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes before the Digital Age (2009). Kennel holds a doctorate and a Master of Arts in art history from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University. 

On View: March 22nd – April 27th, 2024

Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

This exhibition was supported, in whole or in part, by federal assistance listing number, 21.027 awarded to Filter Photo by the US Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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