The final artist I interviewed was Kate Wilson, awarded second place by judge Conor Moynihan. Kate’s piece entitled Refract is formed from the manipulation of space, creating an alien image from an ordinary object. As she puts it, Refract is “symbolic of what you can do with photography… it is actually just an unassuming cardboard box.” After lighting and shooting the box, Wilson abstracts the image through multiple reflections and color adjustments.
What’s thrilling about the piece is that, even after learning her technique of color “punch-ups” and reflections, the mystique of how the final product came together remains. The composition of the photo centers an angled black rectangle whose shape crosses over the expected reflection line, a key component in the allure of Refract. With the piece printed on aluminum, the black center is hypnotic and literally reflective, having viewers stare into the piece instead of at it. I asked Wilson about her intention with this work and was met with an emphatic, “I’m a big proponent of play!… Play is so important for you to stretch your mind.” Wilson selects her object and celebrates it through her process, breathing color, expression, and appreciation into something as mundane as a cardboard box.
Upon arriving, my goal was, truthfully, to make this story, but my night ended up being spent in the social journalistic euphoria of having given myself a cheat-code to start these conversations. While I got the answers to all my questions and felt the self-affirming accomplishment of a productive Saturday night, it was the charm and authenticity exuded by Sarah, Debra, Keith, and Kate that stuck with me. S=P=A=C=E’s necessity for experimentation is what allowed a curious newcomer like me to be inspired by the immense creativity, individualism, and expression found at Art League.
Last week: Interview with Keith Prue: Hudson Valley
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