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The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia opens two exhibitions
Destiny, Grandmother's Roses, VA, Susan Worsham: photo courtesy of the Do Good Fund.

ATLANTA, GA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia announces the opening reception for Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained and Land Inhabited and the works of Baldwin Lee. The opening and exhibitions will take place in the upper level galleries at MOCA GA. Exhibition dates are September 23 – November 19, 2016. The opening reception for both will be Thursday, September 22, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

MOCA GA will present Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained, an exhibition of recent work by Atlanta-based artist Jill Frank.

Jill Frank’s photographic work navigates the various social settings in which young people interact in the southern United States. Documenting chaotic activities such as drinking games and wet-tshirt contests, Frank's portraits and mise-en-scènes are nonetheless remarkably serious.

Exhibiting in Atlanta for the first time, Frank has reproduced a selection of her color photography in an augmented format, creating an immersive experience through large hanging frames. The resulting installation pulls viewers into the same adolescent and collegiate scenarios in which her subjects are complicit, depicted during or immediately after moments of what the artist describes as social performances.

"The pictures I make deal with the complexities that underlie popular perceptions of provincial youth culture—the aesthetics and rituals of which have mass appeal, but are nonetheless considered to be in poor taste," says Frank. "My goal with this body of work is to build layers of meaning around subject matter that is often dismissed because of its sheer familiarity.”

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained explores the stakes associated with self-representation in the 21st century. Some of the portraits exhibited were taken only split seconds apart, but suggest entirely different scenarios. These images thus bear witness to the fact that a single photograph isn’t capable of encapsulating the mercurial identities of Frank's young subjects. Combining intimacy, candor, and documentary rigor, Frank's photographs seek neither to educate viewers about the rituals young people engage in when partying, nor to psychologize (or romanticize) the behavior. Instead, they suggest that the deeper narrative about belonging and identity is still being written by and for Americans, regardless of their age.

Jill Frank was born in Atlanta GA, raised in Louisville, KY and currently lives and works in Atlanta. She received a BA in photography in 2001 from Bard College and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. Her work has shown nationally and internationally, selected solo exhibitions include Golden Gallery, Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Her work has been featured in Art Papers and reviews of her work have appeared in Art Forum, The Paris Review and Bad at Sports. Frank relocated from Chicago to Atlanta in 2011 to teach photography at Georgia State University. Her work deals primarily with the negotiation and indeterminacy of dominant social and cultural narratives. Current work investigates American “rites of passage,” and how they inform cultural status symbols and identity formation.

“The Do Good Fund, based in Columbus, Georgia, has built a collection of southern contemporary photography that is unmatched in both breadth and scope. This exhibition features 58 photographs from the collection, including a large number of works by Baldwin Lee. Lee’s photographs capture the history of the south, carefully extracting the character of the places and people photographed. When reviewing and selecting the works for this exhibition, a theme seemed to emerge organically among all of the artists featured: these works display places that are occupied. Some photographs speak to the remains of where humans once were and the history of those inhabitants. Others mark direct relationships between different people, the structures they have built, or both. The photographic documentation of the communities and histories in this exhibition truly show the essence of a land inhabited.” –Annette Cone-Skelton, Curator

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