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Exhibition presents photographic interpretations pertaining to the meaning, history, and symbolism of the circus
Susan Felter, Clown Under, 1984.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- SF Camerawork is presenting Circus, their 2017 Annual Juried Exhibition, on view in the gallery from July 13 through August 19, 2017. This exhibition features local, national, and international artists, and presents a wide range of photographic interpretations pertaining to the meaning, history, and symbolism of the circus. The jury for this exhibition was comprised of Linde Lehtinen (Assistant Curator of Photography at SFMOMA), Paloma Shutes (Photo Editor at California Sunday Magazine), and Arthur Tress (Photographer of Documentary Surrealism). SF Camerawork presents the following 17 finalists, whom the jury selected from over 100 submissions:

y'ler Banks is a 13 year-old Berkeley, California based photographer currently working with the First Exposures mentoring program. She uses micro-photography to explore specific components of the circus narrative.

Michele Brancati is a photographer currently based in Koln, Germany. The series Zirkus follows the Circus Roncalli, capturing moments directly before and after the circus performance.

Agathe Catel is a French artist whose series follows the Circuba, Cuba’s national circus, as it travels around Cuba, and portrays behind the scenes moments of this internationally esteemed circus.

Susan Felter is an artist based out of Oakland, California. Her work examines the notion that circuses exist because of the cultural need to combine the real and the surreal in the form of short lived, seemingly magical experiences.

Kimberly Gremillion is a photographer currently based in Houston, Texas. Her work looks over and above a simple reading of performance to challenge the aesthetics associated with the circus by creating images composed of shadows, silhouettes, and apparitions.

Rachael Jablo is an American photographer currently working in Berlin, Germany. In her Under a Circus Sky series, she focuses on themes which are eclipsed by the spectacle of the circus, such as the emptiness and stillness surrounding the main event.

Michael J. Lessner is a photographer based in Marin County, California, who followed The Occupy movement from San Francisco to Chicago. Lessner’s work addresses the lack of structure in the Occupy movement and how this created a circus-like atmosphere.

Vanessa Marsh is an artist based out of Oakland, California. Her series Everywhere All at Once applies the circus theme to sky landscapes, utilizing a familiar component of the circus narrative in an innovative way.

Kari Orvik is a San Francisco based photographer. Her series Exercises for Moving In Between records the artist in a series of tightrope exercises seen as a distilled physical-perfomative practice, and includes work made in Norway and at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Wiesje Peels, based out of Breda, Netherlands, uses her father’s personal experience in the circus as a jumping off point for her own work. Peels captures the “in between world” in which the circus performers are no longer on stage but still inhabit their characters and costumes.

Anna Rotty is a San Francisco-based photographer whose artworks in the Circus exhibition focus on the tension between resistance and acceptance of change. Analyzing this dichotomy through the lens of the recent Trump election, her photos use chemical processes to examine the ways in which the current presidency will change over time.

Norma Quintana is a Northern Californian photographer who uses analog black and white photography to capture the almost extinct travelling circus world, specifically highlighting the back of the house component of the circus lifestyle.

Jay Turner Frey Seawell is a photographer based out of Washington, DC. The three photographs featured in the Circus exhibition come from his first photobook, National Trust, which examines the ways in which manufacturing of appearance relates to power, politics, and media in the US.

Jean Sousa is a Chicago based artist whose film The Circus reconstructs a surreal experience through technical manipulation. She transforms the way the circus is defined and discussed, focusing on the interplay between the movement of the body and color.

Paul Turounet is a photographer based out of California. His work King of the Compacts follows “Charlie ‘Too Tall’ West”, a rodeo clown performer who embodies what it means to be a part of the American West.

Sarah Windels is a California-based artist who followed the political circus surrounding the election of Donald Trump, searching the landscape for visuals of the American Dream unraveling itself.

Vanessa Woods is Bay Area photographer whose work Somewhere Between Here and There pays homage to her deceased mentor, pulling inspiration from his collage work and applying it to her artistic investigation into seductive illusionism.






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