new faculty members
Art department sharpens focus on photography
By Jane Ford
Holly Wright retired from the U.Va. art faculty last May, she'd
spent 16 years building a strong photography program. Her classes
were among the most popular and oversubscribed in the McIntire
Department of Art.
The popularity of Wright's classes helped identify an even broader
interest among art students that extended to forms other than
traditional media. Part of Wright's legacy will be that she was
replaced with not one, but two new faculty members.
Everson, a photographer and installation- and performance-artist,
joins the faculty from the University of Tennessee, where he taught
since 1996. He is teaching one course in cinematography and another
in installation and performance art.
Wylie comes to U.Va. from Colorado State University where he taught
photography, history of photography, critical theory and book
art since 1994.
is a master photographer as well as skilled draftsman, and also
an installation artist. "He combines these skills to allow
his work to be more than pictures, using installation to expand
the experience of photographs," said William Bennett, chair
of the studio art program.
you make a photograph, it becomes a very different thing than
you are photographing," said Wylie. "I want the reverberation
of the photograph, as an image of a subject that matters, to expand
out to all aspects of our feelings and experience."
his work, Wylie focuses on themes and issues of landscape and
place. His latest book, Riverwalk: Explorations Along the Cache
la Poudre River, chronicles the last undammed river in Colorado
which runs from the Continental Divide to the Missouri River.
Wylie was no stranger to the river, having fly-fished along its
banks for many years. He spent more than four years photographing
the changing light along the 150-mile river. Near the end of his
photographic journey, Wylie spent 12 days hiking the entire 150
miles searching out and photographing areas that are often missed
by the casual observer.
his camera on a tripod and a hood over his head, the black and
white photographs he takes with his large-format field camera
are in the tradition of late 19th-century expeditionary photographers
and painters like Worthington Whittredge, Timothy O'Sullivan and
William Henry Jackson. Visible in the photos are the imprints
of human intervention -- a power line, a house in the distance,
tractor tracks in a field across the river, but people are never
Look for the presence of human industry in one of the wilderness
photos (above) of faculty member William Wylie, from his latest
book, Riverwalk: Exploring Along the Cache la Poudre River.
in everyday life inform Kevin Everson's photo-based work. Labor
and daily chores in African-American social settings are central
to the themes of Everson's short movies. He takes complex relationships
and simplifies them by "collaging things together."
As in many of his projects, such as his films "Thermostat,"
"Second Shift" and "Merger," he puts together
disparate things in unusual combinations.
his latest film, "Avenues," Everson portrays a teenage AfricanAmerican
cab driver who has to juggle a variety of tasks to keep his job.
Along with driving, he also serves as mechanic. "Today everything
is based on things not lasting," Everson said. "Being a mechanic,
building something, the cab driver is like a sculptor in a way."
into the images is visual text of language used in the corporate
culture -- or as Everson calls it, "corporate newsspeak."
Juxtaposing these two worlds, Everson subtly reveals the similarities
between the cab driver and the corporate executive. "Even
small industry becomes corporate," he said.
"Avenues" was exhibited in the experimental category at the prestigious
Shorts International Film Festival in New York in mid-November.
The festival provides a forum for artists whose works are given
consideration for the Academy Awards.
area is our first expansion into time-based media," said Bennett.
"His strong background in still photography also helps to enrich
the critical discussion of photography, which up to this point
has been a one-person area."
Everson is the recipient of numerous awards including a 1999 National
Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Guggenheim Memorial
Foundation Fellowship in photography, and the Peter Wilde Award
for Most Technically Innovative Film at the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
sees the addition of Wylie and Everson as an important step in
broadening the University's photography program. "Both of these
artists bring to the art department a developed sense of the artist
as having a strong sense of social, political and ecological responsibility."