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AMY STEIN


Exhibition: January 22 to March 4, 2012
Lecture: February 10, 4 pm

AMY STEIN, Watering Hole, 2005, C-print, courtesy of the artist and Clamp Art

 

 

 

Stein photograph

Lecture: February 10, 2012
Exhibition: January 22 to March 4, 2012

Amy Stein photographs a new incarnation of the natural world in her series Domesticated. A bear peers over a fence at a girl standing on a diving board, both frozen at the encounter. A fawn takes shelter in the warmth of a green house, wild cats perch in the skeleton of a home under construction. In a world in which animals like coyotes are becoming common in suburbia, the interaction between humans and wildlife requires adaptation on the part of both.

Stein set out to investigate themes of human domination over the natural world in the twenty-first century, but as she began working in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Matamoras, people began telling her about the encounters with wild creatures and she discovered a far more complex narrative. “Each story was relayed with a sense of wonder and fascination that hinted at a deeper connection,” she says. “I began to realize that something far more primal and mystical was happening in this town.”

Her photographs reflect real encounters, but are carefully constructed—many using taxidermied animals—to explore the domestication of people as well as animals. Often it is the humans, enclosed by fences or the walls of homes, who seem to be the ones who are trapped in a world of their own making. Stein, who earned a master’s degree in political science before becoming a photographer, frequently examines the changing structure of contemporary life in America. In Stranded, her ongoing series of distressed motorists, she sees the broken down cars and families left by the roadsideas a metaphor for the “collapse of certainty” in the country.

Stein’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is part of many public collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and the Light Work Collection in Syracuse, N.Y. She was a winner of the Saatchi Gallery/Guardian Prize for her Domesticated series in 2006 and was named one of the top fifteen emerging photographers by American Photo magazine in 2007. Her book Domesticated won the Critical Mass Book Award in 2008. She is represented by galleries in New York, San Francisco, and Berlin and teaches at the School of Visual Arts and at Parsons The New School for Design.

 

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