Introducing Janelle Young.

J_Young_chair_2015(post by Anna Helgeson)

I would like you to meet Janelle Young, one of the exhibiting artists in Authentic Constructions, a pop-up gallery taking place during photo+craft. Janelle’s work is confidently conceptual with out any hint of condescension. She approaches her practice with a genuine sense of curiosity.

She is soon to complete her MFA (spring 2016) from the University of Georgia and earned her bachelor’s of fine art in film studies and art history from the University of Ohio, Dayton. She already has a long exhibition history and was awarded a 2013 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Willson Center Graduate Research Award from UGA.

The piece in Authentic Constructions is really just a suggestion – an invitation. It is part of a larger series entitled Duck or Rabbit? Janelle describes the series in this way:

Growing up, I was led to believe the disciplines of art and science were diametrically opposed. Art relies on the imagination, whereas science is driven by facts. Science seeks out truth and art is rooted in illusion. However, more and more, I realize that these two fields overlap, revealing similarities and synergy. It is this understanding that plays a significant role throughout my studio practice. Emulating a scientist, I research, observe, and test. Each artwork begins with a question. For example, “what is the transformative potential of a chair?” Utilizing specific methodology, I transform my studio into a laboratory creating aesthetic results. As an artist, my pursuits may only remain as an emulation of a scientist or philosopher’s work. Yet by employing alchemistic notions, I can measure the perception of an hour (image 5) or the weight of the moon (image 4). It is safe to say, like science, art too seeks out the truth.

 As an artist, I work primarily within photography, where the relationship of art to science is undeniable and yet the line easily confused. The camera, a product of science, is imbued with a sense of objective power. Even the earliest (made) photographs revealed some of the medium’s great contradictions – the camera is accurate and untruthful at the same time. Photography has the capability to discover the unperceivable and the invisible.

 The oscillation between truth and fiction extends to additional inherent qualities of the medium – the peculiar rendering of time and duration, and the capture of the seen and the unseen. These qualities point to the capabilities and limitations of a mechanical process. These dualistic aspects of photography constantly guide my current investigations, regardless of whether I utilize sculpture, installation, video, digital, or analogue capture. I am thus guided to explore my own personal curiosities in pseudo-science, perception, phenomena, and the sublime.

 The catalyst for the recent series Duck or Rabbit? began while researching E.H. Gombrich’s theory of perception and his notion that our perception and viewing is illusionary based. Everything exists in abstract forms and the viewer’s preconceived concepts shape an interpretation. However, a viewer cannot simultaneously see the abstract form and the inference simultaneously. The visual understanding switches back and forth. Expanding this notion, my goal is to create work that allows the viewer’s perception to not just oscillate, but straddle implied and imagined meanings, so that they too, can contemplate the moon.

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