Untitled (branches), 2016

Placelessness of Echoes (and kinship of shadows)

Keisha Scarville

Opening Reception: Thursday June 7th, 6-8pm
Exhibition dates:
 June 7th – July 7th, 2018

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is pleased to present Placelessness of Echoes (and kinship of shadows), a solo show by 2017 Workspace Resident Keisha Scarville. The exhibition addresses questions of place, power, and self-formation within the nature. At times in the photograph we are privy to the body of the artist, a sole black woman entering the transformative space of the nocturnal American landscape. In these rural environs of the Northeast, outside her home of New York City, she creates objects and images that inhabit the spatial, temporal, and visual ambiguity of darkness. These figural bodies, not quite human, nor animal, nor inanimate articles, unfold as abstract accounts of a nocturnal shape-shifter who becomes part of the landscape around her.

Inspired by Guyanese author Wilson Harris’s first novel, Palace of the Peacock, Scarville mines literature and philosophy on the “possessed, living landscapes.”  She enters the environment with her camera, and, not without hesitation, allows her own relationship to the landscape to unfurl. She is an observer, who captures subtle variations in the night as previously concealed elements appear. In documenting this process of emergence, Scarville establishes a framework through which the geographic complexities of a region — indigenous flora and fauna or artistic interlocutor — could witness its epistemology, history, and narrative. The darkness is transformed from a space of fear into an arena of power and belonging. The darkness enfolds, allowing the separation between body and terrain to disappear, and decentering the human as a defenseless prey. Rather than traffic in black and white or a duotone, Scarville highlights reds and golds, as well as a blue mystical fogginess of night. Thereby allowing for an alchemic relationship between artist, myth, and history to ignite in this new space, where darkness is no longer inert, but becomes active perception.

Keisha Scarville (b. 1975, Brooklyn, NY) weaves together themes dealing with transformation and the unknown. Working across media, but with a grounding in photography, her work addresses issues of place, memory, and subjectivity. Scarville has exhibited at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Rush Arts Gallery, BRIC Arts Media House, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Lesley Heller Gallery, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Museum of Contemporary Diasporan Arts, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. She has participated in artist residencies at BRIC Workspace, Baxter Street CCNY, Vermont Studio Center, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Lightwork Artist Residency Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Scarville is currently an adjunct faculty member at the International Center of Photography.

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is a 501(c)3 artist run arts organization. Each year, Baxter St at CCNY selects four emerging photographers living in New York City for the Workspace Residency Program, which offers them analog and digital workspace at the International Center of Photography, access to the Baxter St at CCNY community and programs, and solo exhibitions at Baxter St. This exhibition is the fourth in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2017 winners of the Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, Fujifilm of North America, and Yarden Wines.