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Pop Filter Hot Pick: Fellowship 14 international photography competition winners at Silver Eye

Why you should go: Silver Eye Center for Photography is presenting the winners of its 2014 Fellowship 14 International Photography Competition in new portfolio showcase exhibition at the South Side gallery. Opening with a free public reception on Friday, January 31st, Fellowship 14: Projects by Donna J. Wan and Aaron MacLachlan, runs through March 22nd.

Marking its 14th year, Silver Eye's Fellowship program recognizes both up-and-coming and established photographers from all around the globe, as well as from right here in the state of Pennsylvania. Judged this year by Linda Benedict-Jones, curator of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art, the Fellowship has awarded more than $58,000 in unrestricted grants and solo exhibitions to 18 emerging and mid-career photographers since its inception. An integral part of Silver Eye’s mission, the program provides direct support to talented and dedicated photographers from the region, the US and abroad.

The envelope please

Winning portfolios by International Award winner Donna J. Wan (San Francisco Bay Area) and Keystone Award winner Aaron MacLachlan (Pittsburgh, PA) will provide the public with a firsthand look at the scope of work and creative practive of Fellowship awardees.

Showcasing work from her series entitled In the Landscape, Wan explores the intersection between humans and the environments in stunning works that portray interactions between people and the sheer vastness of the diverse and natural world. Situating humans--often with their backs turned to the viewer or their faces obscured--Wan depicts men and women in forests and rivers, near cliffs and snowdrifts and in unidentified outdoor environments. Included in the exhibition are 24 archival pigment prints by Wan, that are approximately 25 x 20 inches.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in New York, Wan is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008, and her MA and BA in economics from Stanford University in 1999. The recipient of a 2013 scholarship grant from the Lucie Foundation/APA (Los Angeles, CA), Wan has been featured in solo exhibitions at PHOTO Gallery (Oakland, CA), Gallery 1401 (Philadelphia, PA), and CarteBlanche Gallery (San Francisco, CA). Her work has also been included in numerous group shows at museums and galleries across the US, including THE CENTER (Santa Fe, NM); Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego, CA); RISD Museum of Art (Providence, RI); SF Camerawork (San Francisco, CA); Photo Center NW (Seattle, WA); and the Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock, NY).

As Silver Eye's Keystone Award winner, MacLachlan will showcase nine works from his Solipsism Postulate series, which features digitally printed, 16 x 20" diptychs from the artist's experiments with digital technology and Google’s “search by image” function. Allowing a computer to participate in the project as a "curatorial partner," MacLachlan presents a new take on the process of creating, producing and presenting original artwork. Commenting on today's digital universe, which seems to embody the current ubiquitous mantra that "everyone is a curator," MacLachlan's inventive work sparks a dialogue about process, as well as explores preconceived notions about and relationships between image, source, originality, formal elements and context.

To create his unique diptychs, MacLachlan subjected his entire personal photograph library to Google. Juliana Zipay of Silver Eye explains that MacLachlan "wanted to see every single result possible." By uploading his images individually to Google's Search by Image feature and subjecting them to Google's algorithm, MacLachlan resulted in hundreds of images that Google thought looked "similar" to his. Zipay says that MacLachlan's process included "scouring deep into the results to find the best images to pair with his original ones, even admitting that the resulting diptychs do not necessarily include his best photographs, but are the best pairs that he found." MacLachlan's final diptychs feature his original images on top or to the left, with the Google result paired on the bottom or to the right.

Based in Pittsburgh, MacLachlan received his BA in Photography from Sarah Lawrence College. MacLachlan has experience as a photographer’s field assistant, performance photographer, videographer, and documentary filmmaker. He has shown work in group exhibitions at Amo Studios (Brooklyn, NY), the Grace and Clark Fyfe Gallery (Glasgow, Scotland) and Sarah Lawrence College.

Fellowship 14

Silver Eye's new Fellowship 14 exhibition also includes one photograph from each artist who received one of the competition's five Judge’s Commendations: Victoria Crayhon (Providence, RI, US); Johanne Seines Svendsen (Gimsøysand, Norway); Kevin Sweeney (Austin, TX, US); Christian Werner (Nordstemmen, Lower Saxony, Germany); and Yoong Alex Wong (Istanbul, Turkey).

For its 2014 competition--which accepted applicants from August 6th through October 21st--Silver Eye received a total of 222 total entries, with 61 from Pennsylvania. Artists from 19 different countries and 29 different states submitted work, including from the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the UK.

Don's miss the chance to meet both Wan and MacLachlan, who will speak briefly at the opening reception and awards presentation on Friday, January 31st at Silver Eye. Learn more about MacLachlan's innovative process and the inspiration behind the project, during his Artist Talk on Saturday, March 1st, at 2 p.m. at Silver Eye. A reception will follow. The talk is free and open to the public. Space is limited; RSVP recommended: eabeyta@silvereye.org.

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