Friday, February 6, 2015

Opening Reception: Light 4 - Celebrating Four Years Friday, February 13, 2015 6:00pm 9:00pm

Opening Reception: Light 4 - Celebrating Four Years

  • Join us for the opening reception of a show celebrating Light's 4th Anniversary! Featuring work by Katherine Armacost, Béatrice Coron, Lynda Curry, Jimmy Fountain, Marguerite Jay Gignoux, Roger Haile, Susan Harbage Paige, Kaola Phoenix, and Leigh Suggs. Show runs through Saturday, March 21st.
Nuove Considerazioni, Guache on Antique Italian Paper, 2014, Susan Harbage Page

Exhibition at Light Art + Design

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Carolina Women's Center Announces Faculty Scholars


Susan Harbage Page


Chapel Hill, N.C. (September 22, 2014) – The Carolina Women’s Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is proud to announce its Faculty Scholars for the 2014–2015 academic year.  Dr. Joanne Hershfield and Susan Harbage Page from Women’s and Gender Studies department and Dr. Mary H. Palmer from the School of Nursing will use their funding to undertake projects that reflect the mission of the Center.

More info here:
Carolina Women's Center

During Fall 2014, Joanne Hershfield will complete “Planting the First Seed: Making a Home for Formerly Incarcerated Women,” a documentary film about Benevolence Farm in Alamance county, North Carolina. A newly established work and residential program for women leaving prison, Benevolence Farm will “provide an opportunity for women leaving prison to live and work on a farm where they grow food, nourish self, and foster community” and “to create a more equitable, just, and nurturing world for women and communities they transform.” Some of the funds from this award will be used to make “Planting the First Seed” available to people still in prison and to educational institutions in order to inspire conversations about what life after prison is and could be.  Hershfield is a professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies department.

Susan Harbage Page’s project combines scholarship with creating an “Anti-Archive” of the objects—lipstick, a single sock, scraps of paper—that undocumented migrants leave in their wake as they cross the Mexico-U.S. border. “Testify[ing] to a life that has moved on, reminding
the viewer of what else may have been left behind,” these objects reveal the everyday and gendered lives of migrants. The project will culminate in “Objects from the Borderland,” a limited edition book that combines Harbage Page’s photographs with essays about the border’s political and cultural context. Funds from this award will contribute towards cataloguing and production costs. Harbage Page is an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies department.

Taking advantage of the medical field’s gradual recognition of the impact of sex difference on health-related behaviors and outcomes, Mary Happel Palmer’s project, “Enhancing Women’s Lives Through Bladder Health,” studies the long term consequences of women’s gendered social and cultural toileting behaviors (for example, “hovering” over a public toilet because of acculturated fears about dirt and disease). In addition to developing a “conceptual model” for understanding the behavioral and cultural influences on women’s bladder health, Palmer and her collaborator will revise a web-based questionnaire to better capture the behaviors of women from different age, ethnic and racial groups. Deeply collaborative, Palmer’s project also includes “providing a research training opportunity for a next generation scholar in women’s health.” Palmer is the Helen W. & Thomas L. Umphlet Distinguished Professor in Aging at the School of Nursing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

another Border as Backdrop

Thinking about how the border is often used as a backdrop for politicians to engage national issues of immigration and economics. My images emphasize not what has been put in in front of the backdrop by popular media outlets, but what is to the left of it, the right of it, far behind it. I purposefully leave it empty so the viewer is drawn to see the everyday space and landscape that is normally undifferentiated on our miniaturized backlit screens.

This is the backdrop in front of the brick historical marker at the start of the Chisholm Trail in Hope Park, Brownsville, Texas with the border wall behind it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Border as Backdrop

Border as Backdrop
Backdrop, theater, and performance are all ways in which I've come to see the U.S.Mexico border in my travels there for almost ten years. Once or twice a year I fly into Brownsville, McAllen, or San Antonio, Texas, to photograph in the Rio Grande Valley and archive the objects left behind by people in motion: a shoe from an immigrant coming north, a coffee cup from a bored Border Patrol officer, or perhaps a bullet casing left behind by someone involved in the illegal transportation of drugs or guns. My archive of over 1,000 objects continues to grow.

I learn the evolving codes of the border, understand how it has slowly shifted, and respond with a performative action on each journey. This winter I set up a gray backdrop typically used for portraiture to help me think conceptually about the border as backdrop. Often a photo opportunity for ambitious politicians, the border is reduced to a prop or distorted to a menace, without regard to the people and the economic and sociopolitical realities of the place.

This project intends to question how the border will be seen as we lead up to the 2016 elections; immigration, labor, border economics and militarization and surveillance issues will be in the news, and the border again will be used to gain political ground and voters. My images emphasize not what has been put in in front of the backdrop by popular media outlets, but what is to the left of it, the right of it, far behind it. I purposefully leave it empty so the viewer is drawn to see the everyday space and landscape that is normally undifferentiated on our miniaturized backlit screens. The politician who would usually be center stage is absent.

More to come. 
Susan Harbage Page

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Southern Photographer

 Meant to share this link to a short piece that John N. Wall wrote for the Southern Photographer Blog in October. John does a terrific job of keeping up with the latest art photography in the American South.

Susan Harbage Page in Italy, and in North Carolina

Distinguished Southern Photographer Susan Harbage Page is opening a show of work from her Objects from the Borderlands: The US-Mexico "Anti-Archive" Project portfolio in Rome, at La Stellinia Arte Contemporanea (The Gallery of Contemporary Art) in Rome, Italy.

Harbage Page describes this work as capturing a "collection of objects found along the border between the United States and Mexico that witness a silent immigration that people do not want to see."

Harbage Page says she "began this work on the border after I heard a radio broadcast on National Public Radio. 

"They said that 20% more women and children than men die crossing the U.S.–Mexico border without official papers. I couldn’t get this statistic out of my head, so I decided to go see it with my own eyes. 
"I began to make yearly pilgrimages to the border to photograph the objects that are left behind by border-crossers. 
"The objects that I find speak of a difficult journey and the risks that these individuals are exposed to when they enter the United States. 
"I didn’t want to photograph the individuals in the traditional documentary manner—media and popular culture already do this. I wanted to show these left-behind objects as reliquaries, imbued with power." 

If you are in Rome, the Gallery is at 93 Via Braccio da Montone.
There will be a reception and artist's talk at the Gallery on Friday, October  24th, 2014, at 6:00 in the afternoon.

We've discussed this work before, here and here, and it's really great to see this work receiving attention in another country where the possibility of a better life tempts large numbers of people to risk literally everything for the chance to pursue it.

Page is also busy this month, with work in two group shows in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area as part of the CLICK! Triangle Photography Festival.

The first is now up at Light Art + Design in Chapel Hill, and features photography by Taj Forer, Jimmy Fountain, Susan Harbage Page (see image above), Harrison Haynes, Jeff Whetstone, and Laura Williams.

This show is up through October 25th, 2014 at 601 West Rosemary Street, in Chapel Hill, open from 11:00 to 6:00 pm every day except Sundays and Mondays.
The second show is at the Flanders Gallery in  Raleigh, at  302 South West Street, up now through October 29th, 2014, on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 -6:00 pm

In addition to Harbage Page, this show of photographers and artists in other media includes the work of Derek Toomes, Damian Stamer, Lydia Anne McCarthy, Kenn Kotara, Ian F.G. Dunn, Bill Sullivan, Mia Yoon, Holly Fischer, Ashlynn Browning, Jason Craighead, and Peter Glenn Oakley.
Great to see Harbage Page becoming both a locally- and internationally-celebrated photographer!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Il foglio dell Arte

Here's a link to a short piece written by Francesca Castiglia on the "Sewing Politics" performance last week in Rome at LaStellina ArteContemporanea.

L’anti-archivio di Susan Harbage Page

ROMA – Un lavoro ancora in corso, quello dell’artista americana Susan Harbage Page. Una minuziosa raccolta e classificazione di ogni genere di articoli rinvenuti lungo il confine tra gli Stati Uniti e il Messico. Pettini, calzini, spazzolini da denti: oggetti di vita quotidiana, persi, nel tentativo di oltrepassare la frontiera e raggiungere un nuovo e supposto benessere. L’artista fotografa prima gli oggetti sul posto, nel momento in cui li trova. In seguito, li trasporta nel suo studio, dove li fotografa nuovamente, in uno scenario neutro, attribuendo loro un’etichetta e un numero, per poi collocarli in un registro. Si tratta, in realtà, di una sorta di anti-archivio, poiché se un archivio, nel senso comune, è una mera raccolta di informazioni da conservare e mettere da parte, quasi dimenticandosene, in questo caso la finalità della raccolta è mantenere viva nella memoria la storia di gente sconosciuta.
L’artista ha iniziato il suo progetto nel 2007, dopo aver ascoltato una trasmissione radiofonica in cui si parlava dell’alto tasso di mortalità di quanti tentavano di oltrepassare clandestinamente la frontiera. Da quel momento è nato in lei il desiderio di approfondire le problematiche relative all’immigrazione negli Stati Uniti. La tematica, inoltre, la riguarda da vicino, poiché nello Stato in cui vive, il North Carolina, l’economia si basa soprattutto sull’agricoltura, che deve molto alla manodopera proveniente dal Messico e dall’America Latina.
Il 24 ottobre scorso la galleria LaStellina ArteContemporanea ha presentato il progetto di Harbage Page “Objects from the Borderlands: Anti-Archive from the U.S.-Mexico Border”, che raccoglie il lavoro dell’artista degli ultimi otto anni.
Nelle sue ricerche, Harbage Page si è concentrata sulla migrazione che avviene attraverso il Rio Grande. Chi migra, infatti, nuota nel fiume e, una volta arrivato a destinazione, si cambia velocemente gli abiti bagnati per indossarne di asciutti, cercando di sparire il più velocemente possibile. Chi, invece, viene fermato dalla guardia di frontiera, viene obbligato a levare dalle tasche tutto ciò che non è essenziale. Harbage Page, con esercizio meticoloso, ha raccolto negli anni questi oggetti personali abbandonati lungo il confine, considerandoli come relitti di una cultura in cambiamento e di un’aspirazione a una vita migliore. In occasione della presentazione presso la galleria, l’artista ha realizzato anche una performance: su una cartina geografica degli Stati Uniti ha cucito alcune fotografie di quanto ritrovato.
Percependo, innanzitutto, il proprio lavoro come un dovere morale nei confronti delle vittime della clandestinità, Harbage Page ha preferito non tanto descriverne i volti e le fisionomie, quanto piuttosto mostrare gli oggetti appartenuti ai singoli, che ne narrano la vita e la sofferenza, discostandosi dalla fotografia documentaristica tradizionale.
Del resto, il lavoro sul campo è un aspetto fondante della pratica dell’artista. Negli anni, ha svolto quattro residenze internazionali: inizialmente ha analizzato la comunità delle monache di clausura del Monastero di Santa Maria Maddalena a Spello (1992); successivamente si è concentrata su un gruppo di donne beduine in Israele (1996), approfondendo, infine, la tematica della religione in Francia (2002) e del corpo femminile in North Carolina (2004).
I passaggi, i confini, gli incroci e le intersezioni sono al centro del lavoro di Harbage Page, che si prefigge, così, di esplorare la cultura di alcuni popoli, la traccia dei loro comportamenti e della loro marginalità, in modo da operare al contempo su diversi livelli: estetico, archeologico e archivistico.

More photos from the aticle here.

Via Braccio da Montone, 93 – 00176 Roma
Visitabile su appuntamento

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sewing Poiltics: The U.S.–Mexico Border

Thanks to Paolo Landriscina for this photo of a piece made during the performance at LaStellina on October 24, 2014.

Sewing Politics: The U.S.–Mexico Border
Susan Harbage Page

Susan Harbage Page humanizes and animates the imaginary constructions of Nation state borders in her performance “Sewing Politics: The U.S.–Mexico Border.” She concretizes the ever-evolving spaces of international borders through the labor-based action of sewing, creating a narrative and memorialization that challenges dominant histories.

“For eight years I have documented and collected objects from the U.S.–Mexico Border, creating an “Anti-Archive” that challenges who is worthy of documentation, attention, and remembrance. My work on the border—a geopolitical flash point in which contested bodies (race), contested statuses (refugee vs. “illegal”), and contested histories are bound together—is a witnessing that serves its purpose only if others witness it in turn. The upcoming publication of the artist’s book “Anti-Archive: A Book of Objects from the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands” will catalogue this anti-archive and create a tangible object to serve as primary source material for scholars and citizens to engage and interpret. The book will function as a sort of reliquary, with photographs accompanied by scraps of cloth.”