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Since the invention of the camera in the early 19th century, spirit photography - the practice of attempting to capture images of spirits on film - has fascinated those interested in the occult, including Mary Todd Lincoln and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The lure of this art form continues today in the work of Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond.
These internationally renowned artists, known for their own work in photography, printmaking, painting and sculpture, will share their latest collaboration in Streaming Spirits, an exhibition at SCAD's La Galerie Pfriem in Lacoste, France.
The exhibition features 12 new prints created with the help of seven SCAD undergraduate and graduate printmaking students under the direction of the artists and SCAD's printmaking chair and master printer, Robert Brown, along with several related works produced in the past year.
"The creative collaboration between Smith, Hammond and SCAD's talented printmaking department imbues Streaming Spirits with layers of energy and an ethos of connectivity," said Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD's executive director of exhibitions. "The works featured in the exhibition have a poignant, haunting presence on their own; the context of experiencing these works in Lacoste, a medieval village where the sense of history is prevalent and resonating, is truly profound."
The works were created using a variety of printmaking techniques, including lithography, photogravure and letterpress, over the course of visits made by Smith and Hammond to SCAD Atlanta in July 2011 and January 2012. The students who collaborated with Smith and Hammond include graduate students Nate Kamp, Laura Cleary, Shaun McCallum, Ashley L. Schick, Carla Aaron-Lopez and Alison Batley, and undergraduate student Sara Hemingway.
Among the works included in Streaming Spirits is Kiki Smith's Color Noise, an accordion-fold lithograph of self-portraits; apports, Valerie Hammond's four-color photogravure of Smith's back; and Hammond's River Goddess, a two-plate photogravure of Smith emerging from water. In conjunction with the exhibition, Crista Cloutier moderated a panel discussion with Smith and Hammond during the exhibition opening on July 7.
Valerie Hammond was born in Santa Maria, California, and earned an M.F.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded the Eisner Award. Upon graduation, Hammond relocated to New York City and was later appointed to her first teaching position through the Cleveland Institute of Art in Lacoste, France.
Upon returning to New York, Hammond began teaching art through the Studio in a School program. Hammond has taught printmaking at Columbia University, New York University and the Yale Norfolk Program; drawing at the Cooper Union School of Art; and has been a visiting art critic at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Most recently, she has had exhibitions in Spain, New Zealand and India; as well as Cleveland, Ohio; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Ogden, Utah. Hammond lives and works in New York City with her husband and two children.
Kiki Smith was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in New Jersey. The recurrent subject matter in Smith's work is the body as a receptacle for knowledge, belief and storytelling.
In the 1980s, Smith turned the figurative tradition in sculpture inside out by creating objects and drawings based on organs, cellular forms, and the human nervous system. This body of work evolved to incorporate animals, domestic objects and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales. Life, death and resurrection are thematic signposts in many of Smith's installations and sculptures.
Smith received the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000, the Athena Award for Excellence in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005, the 50th Edward MacDowell Medal from the MacDowell Colony in 2009, and has participated in the Whitney Biennial three times in the past decade. In 2005, Smith was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Smith's work is in numerous prominent museum collections including:
Smith lives and works in New York City.
Crista Cloutier works internationally as a curator, writer, filmmaker and educator. In 2002, the renowned French art press, Gallimard, published Cloutier's research on 19th-century spiritual photographs in their hardcover book to accompany the exhibition Le Troisieme Oeil for Paris' Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
Her research was published again the following year by Yale University Press in The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult, the catalog that accompanied an exhibition of the same name at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
More recently, Cloutier researched and produced a series of photographs of the historic Maison Basse, a 15th-century complex now a part of SCAD Lacoste. She previously taught at the Lacoste School of the Arts, founded by the American painter Bernard Pfriem. She is based in Europe and the United States.
Since 2010, SCAD Atlanta's Southeastern Center for Printmaking has collaborated with acclaimed artists Chakaia Booker, Alexandre Arrechea, Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond to realize new prints.
SCAD Lacoste offers an opportunity for students, professors and visiting artists to spend a quarter immersed in the rich culture of Provence. Formerly the Lacoste School of the Arts (founded in 1970 by American painter Bernard Pfriem), SCAD Lacoste was founded in 2002 when the School of the Arts donated its 31 historic buildings to SCAD in exchange for its commitment to make substantial investments in their renovation and restoration. SCAD Lacoste offers a year-round academic curriculum, as well as other programs and workshops for students, professors visiting artists and the general public.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, SCAD Lacoste hosts a series of public programs and exhibitions for students and the local and regional communities. Among the highlights of the 10th Anniversary Year is the opening of the Maison Basse, a collection of four 15th-century structures located near the SCAD Lacoste location. The buildings, considered historic treasures of Provence, were formerly owned by the Marquis de Sade and his family, and have undergone extensive restoration by SCAD. Opening in Fall 2012, the Maison Basse will serve as art facilities for SCAD students and the Lacoste community.
Featured public programs through the 10th Anniversary Year include exhibitions and workshops by acclaimed artists Kiki Smith and Valerie Hammond, a solo show by French artist Mohamed Bourouissa, and the fifth annual Sidewalk Arts Festival in the village of Lacoste.
La Galerie Pfriem at SCAD Lacoste
84480 Lacoste, France
Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 1:30 to 5 p.m.
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 area of study, as well as minors in nearly 60 disciplines in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning.
SCAD has more than 20,000 alumni and offers an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body, consisting of more than 11,000 students, comes from all 50 United States and nearly 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of more than 700 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These professors emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment. SCAD's innovative curriculum is enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources and has garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications, including 3D World, American Institute of Architects, BusinessWeek, Design Intelligence, U.S. News & World Report and the Los Angeles Times.