Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present View Find: A Group Exhibition of Photography featuring Mary Ellen Bartley, Christa Bowden, Stacey Evans, Elijah Gowin, John Grant, Mercedes Jelinek, Dean Kessmann, Sally Mann, Amanda Means, Hullihen Moore, Lanvi Nyguen, Gordon Stettinius, and William Wylie opening Friday, January 20 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run January 20 to February 25.

Virginia-based photographer Christa Bowden grounds her work in unconventional processes and innovative techniques. She is best known for her “camera-less” photography, in which she uses a flatbed scanner in lieu of a camera to explore both personal and universal aspects of the human experience. Her subject matter includes objects found in nature, which she chooses both for their formal qualities and symbolic associations. She conceptualized her “Roots & Nests” series while pulling weeds from her vegetable garden one afternoon. Having recently moved from Georgia to Virginia with her husband and young son, she contemplated how the complex root systems poetically corresponded to family and home-life. As her own metaphorical “nest” and “roots” began to grow, Bowden sought to visually express these life experiences through her minimalistic scans of vines, leaves, roots, and nests. Notions of motherhood, protection, and security permeate the series, bolstered by the artist’s use of encaustic wax to coat the prints “like encased precious objects.” Distinguished by their formal simplicity, stark contrasts, and vein-like meandering lines, Bowden’s prints are as visually compelling as they are profoundly metaphorical.

Bowden earned her MFA from University of Georgia (2000) and BA from Tulane University (1996). She is an Associate Professor at Washington and Lee University, where she established and developed the photography program in 2006. Bowden has received several honors and awards, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship in Photography (2009-10), Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Summer Research Grant (2007-16), and LensCulture Editor’s Pick (February 2014). Her work has been included in numerous print and online publications as well as solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States.

Dean Kessmann’s stunning photographs complicate the relationship between high art and consumer culture and undermine distinctions between abstraction and representation. For both “Plastic on Paper” and “Cover to Cover”, he has appropriated and decontextualized quotidian objects—plastic shopping bags for the former series and art magazines for the latter—and transformed them into highly abstract prints that ostensibly lack any referents. For “Plastic on Paper,” he has creatively documented a handful of shopping bags from his recycling bin by scanning and manipulating them into “fluid forms that hover within a depthless space.” The finished prints are like brilliantly colored X-rays. As the artist explains, “These mundane objects illuminated from within by a radiant light turn out to be apparitions… that disappear as quickly as they come into view.” Likewise, for “Cover to Cover,” Kessmann has used his scanner to capture unique color juxtapositions that appear along the edges of magazine pages when rolled up like a tube. This series, like Plastic on Paper, is as referential as it is abstract, presenting scans of commonplace objects that have been disguised by the artist’s hand. Taken together, both bodies of work transform the “byproducts” of consumer culture into new and intriguing visual experiences—repackaging them, as Kessmann explains, to create a fresh perspective worthy of contemplation.

Kessmann received his MFA (1996) and BA (1988) from Southern Illinois University. He lives in Washington, DC and is an Associate Professor and coordinator for the photography program at George Washington University. His work has been collected by several institutions including Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Philips Collection, and Baltimore Museum of Art. Among numerous other awards and honors, he is a three-time recipient of the Artist Fellowship Program Grant Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and he has exhibited extensively across the United States for over two decades.