Fellowship 22

May 5–Jun 25, 2022
Silver Eye Center for Photography
4808 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

This exhibition highlights the award winners and honorable mentions from Fellowship 22, our annual call for entries. This year’s awards were juried by a panel consisting of Dan Boardman, Executive Director of Light Work, Syracuse, New York, Brian Paul Clamp, Director, ClampArt, New York, New York, and Helen Trompeteler, an independent curator and writer specializing in photography. Helen has eighteen years of experience leading exhibitions and partnerships for internationally significant collections, including the Royal Collection (2016-20) and the National Portrait Gallery, London (2002-16).

The Fellowship Award recognizes a rising talent or established photographer from anywhere in the world, and the Keystone Award is given to an exceptional photographer living or making work in the state of Pennsylvania. This year's Fellowship award winner is Carla Liesching and the the Fellowship Honorable mentions are Dylan Everett and Jenna Garrett. The Keystone Award Winner is Eva Alcántara and the Keystone Award Honorable Mentions are Jake Reinhart and Steph Foster

About the Winning Projects

Fellowship Award Winner Carla Liesching's, Good Hope, is a fragmented assemblage that orbits the gardens and grounds at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa—a historic location, now an epicenter for anti-colonial resistance movements, and also the artist's birthplace. The Cape’s position at the mid-point along the ‘Spice Route’ was viewed with great optimism for its capacity to open up a valuable maritime passageway, and the ‘refreshment station’ later established there set into motion flows of capital from ‘east’ to ‘west’. Liesching's work explores how culture and commence have changed in the Cape and what has stayed the same. Good Hope brings together cumulative layers of documentary prose, personal essay and found photographic material. It offers an intimate and critical examination of White supremacist settler-colonialism in the present, and a questioning of the ethics and politics involved in the very acts of looking, discovering, collecting, codifying, preserving, historicizing, naming, and knowing.

Keystone Award Winner Eva Alcántara's James the River is a series that was created in Lehigh Valley, PA, where the artist lived for a year and a half after the pandemic began. The risograph printed images focus on the natural details that surrounded them. The pictures and text are earthy, sensual, and transporting. James the River document's Alcántara's journey in becoming more comfortable in their body and their struggles in feeling contained in place and in time. The text of James the River describes a central character who travels the forest with their cousin, seeking to understand themselves.

Through the use of photo-collage, still life, and photography Dylan Everett's pictures collapse figure and ground into surface. Drawing from a range of references – personal life, literature, art, and pop culture – the viewer is invited to decode his many symbols, or at least to try. Everett's work is often a homage to LGBTQ-identified creative figures, gay icons, and personal relationships. This series is held together by an aesthetic that strips away any sense of hierarchy among these symbolic gestures. There is no distinction between highbrow and lowbrow, personal or famous, historical or contemporary, but there is ample sensuality, and beauty.

Jenna Garrett's project, This Holy Hill explores spirituality and myth in America through the rural vacation town of Branson, Missouri. With a population of 11,400 nestled in the Ozark Mountains Branson has served as a much-loved tourist destination for more than a century. The region champions a particular set of American values, but above all, a belief its existence is blessed by God. Garrett born an hour north of Branson. As a child, I visited several times a year. My work examines the foundation on which I was raised. Today, this culture sits at the forefront of American politics and the current health crisis. Through a combination of documentary and staged images, I create a nuanced portrait of a worldview often oversimplified.

Stephen Foster's The Eyes Beneath the Oak how the American prison system renders people invisible and inaudible so that their stories are hidden from our collective understanding and how this allows the perpetuation of exploitative and abusive systems that disproportionately affects people of color. Foster's work is inspired by his own family, and their collective and individual negotiations of his aunt’s incarceration for the last eight years. For Foster, the disproportionate jailing of black men and women tells a story about a legacy of degradation and dehumanization that began in slavery and continues today. The Eyes Beneath the Oak seeks to empower others in similar positions to participate in self-authoring, and creating an image of blackness that is complex, messy, painful and sometimes contradictory, but also joyful and resilient.

The title of Jake Reinhart's newest body of work, Laurel Mountain Laurel, is an imperfect palindrome and the photographs are an act of interpretation inspired by what is lost in translation. These pictures are informed by a history of erasure and exploitation and an attempt to articulate the significance of place and the life inhabited there. Laurel Mountain Laurel is a lyrical yet firmly grounded photographic exploration, and at it's heart is depiction of the Youghiogheny (Yawk-eh-gain-ee) River Watershed. One surviving translation of the word Youghiogheny is four streams. Reinhart has been along those four streams, watched how they come together; losing their specificity yet retaining what is inherent to each - creating something larger and joining places and people that would otherwise appear disjointed and separate.

Participating Artists

  1. Carla Liesching is a South African interdisciplinary artist working across photography, writing, collage, sculpture, bookmaking and design. Grounded in experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa, her work considers the intersections of representation, knowledge and power—with a focus on colonial histories and enduring constructions of race and geography. A central concern in her practice is photography’s role in the building of social, political and ideological systems, and she uses photographic archives as sites of investigation and intervention. In 2019, a chapbook version of her project Good Hope was co-published by iTi Press and Gato Negro Ediciones, CDMX, Mexico, and a full-length book will be published by MACK, London, UK in November 2021. She is a 2021 winner of the Open Walls Arles competition presented by The British Journal of Photography, and recently exhibited work in Then and Now at Galerie Huit during Recontres Arles Photo Festival. She is a 2021 Light Work Grant recipient and a series of photo-sculptural pieces from Good Hope are currently installed at Light Work in Syracuse, NY. Carla is based between South Africa and New York, where she works as faculty at the International Center of Photography and in the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. Additionally, she works intermittently as a visiting lecturer at the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg, and she will be presenting as a Guest Lecturer at the upcoming inaugural Word and Image Workshop hosted by The Photocaptionist in Paris/Tuscany.

  2. Eva Alcántara (they/them/theirs) born in 1997, is a Dominican transgender artist working with images and text. Their work attempts to illuminate the gaps between objects and the words we use to describe them in order to find limitations in language. They love to create worlds through images and tell poignant stories about themselves and their friends. Eva attended the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art in 2019 during their junior year at the City College of New York CUNY. While currently on an indefinite break from school, they’re keeping themselves occupied learning skateboarding and doing tarot readings for people on the internet. Their work is currently held at the collections of the Robert B. Haas Library at Yale University and the library at the Museum of Modern Art.

  3. Jake Reinhart (b. 1979) is a photographer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in Sociology and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Born and raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania; his work is informed by the region’s history and explores the importance of place in relation to the formation of identity and community.

    His book Laurel Mountain Laurel was published by Deadbeat Club Press in 2021. Throughout all of 2020, his photographs were featured in a weekly column for ZEITmagazin titled Pittsburgh 2020, as well as published in the Spring / Summer ZEITmagazin International edition. His project Where The Land Gives Way was published in 2017 and has been promoted by Collector Daily, The Heavy Collective,  Photo Emphasis, Lenscratch, Slate, and Booooooom.

    In 2018, an excerpt from Laurel Mountain Laurel was exhibited at Northern Kentucky University in conjunction with the FotoFocus Biennial.  His photographs and zines are held in institutional collections such as: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Research Library; London College of Communication Special Collection; RISD Fleet Library Special Collection and PNC Bank, NA. Corporate Art Collection. He was previously awarded a Flight School Fellowship in 2017 and the Pittsburgh Filmmakers emerging photographer grant in 2015.

    He served on the board of directors at the Silver Eye Center for Photography and worked with the Magenta Foundation as their regional coordinator for the Pittsburgh area.

  4. Steph Foster is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in photography, with interests in video, installations, music, digital fabrication, sculpture and performance. His work combines sound and music with visual media to tell stories of mass incarceration and reconciliation within urban communities. He holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

  5. Jenna Garrett (b. 1985) is an artist living in San Francisco, California. Her current practice focuses on the Ozarks in southwest Missouri where she was born. Garrett is interested in spirituality, mythmaking, and its consequences in American culture.

  6. Dylan Everett (b. 1994 in New Jersey) is an artist/photographer working with still life and photo collage. He received an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2019, and a BA in Visual Art from Brown University in 2016. In 2021, his work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA) and in a virtual solo exhibition at Shelter in Place Gallery (Boston, MA). In 2020 he was a recipient of the West Collection LIFTS Grant and Acquisition Award; he was previously awarded the Digital Silver Imaging Portfolio Prize in 2018, and was named second place for the 2019 Lenscratch Student Prize.