Juror 2008: Wayne Levin

Wayne LevinJuror’s statement: “Nothing could be more subjective than judging an exhibition of art. The work accepted to this exhibition will simply be pieces that make the strongest connection to my sensibilities at the moment I’m experiencing them. It’s difficult to say exactly what I’m looking for, but to me, above everything else art is about communication. To reach another person, through the medium of visual art, with an idea, thought, or emotion, is the ultimate goal of an artist. This connection may be on a purely esthetic level, or it may be on a more literal level–i.e. making a political or social statement–or it may be conceptual, communicating philosophical or intellectual ideas. Some art may work on two or three of these levels, but for me it need only communicate articulately on one level to be successful.

“Juried exhibitions such as this are important as they give a group of artists the opportunity to exhibit a piece or two of their work in a prestigious environment. Also, to some extent the exhibition as a whole gives the viewer a picture of the artistic climate of a particular place at a particular time. As a juror, however, I find a drawback—we are looking at work as individual pieces, separate entities: we don’t see them as part of a progression of the artist’s body of work, which is what each piece of art actually is. Thus, in judging, or even viewing works of art as individual entities we inevitably lose an important context.

“As an artist, I am very aware of how much effort and heart each artist puts into his or her work. I applaud each artist for the courage not only in taking the journey into self-expression, but also in putting the results of that journey out into the world.”

Juror’s bio: Wayne Levin has spent a career photographing the eerie and mysterious underwater world. Working in black and white, he removes the surface illusions about the ocean and the assumptions about underwater photography. Levin earned his B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute and his M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in New York. His monograph, Through a Liquid Mirror (Editions Limited, 1998), received the Hawaii Book Publishers Association’s award for Book of the Year. His other books include Other Oceans (U.H . Press 2001), Kalaupapa: A Portrait (Arizona Memorial Foundation & Bishop Museum Press, 1989), and he was one of four photographers in Kaho’olawe: Na Leo O Kanaloa (Ai Pohaku Press 1995, also winner of Hawaii Book of the Year). Levin received the Photographer’s Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council (1989); the National Endowment for the Arts (1984); and a Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Individual Artists Fellowship (2006). His photographs are widely exhibited throughout the US, Japan, and Europe, and are in major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

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