UT School of Visual & Performing Arts

Posts Tagged ‘Arts and Letters’

ART FACULTY MEMBER AWARDED OHIO ARTS COUNCIL GRANT

A photo of Deborah Orloff, Associate Chair, Photography Coordinator, Professor of Art, New Media Studies - Photography at the University of Toledo

Deborah Orloff, Associate Chair, Photography Coordinator, Professor of Art, New Media Studies – Photography

Deborah Orloff, professor of photography and associate chair of The University of Toledo Department of Art, has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for her body of work, “Elusive Memory.”

According to the Ohio Arts Council website, the excellence awards “are peer recognition of artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community. These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.”

Orloff said the $5,000 grant will be used to expand her “Elusive Memory” series and to exhibit it nationally.

The work was inspired by an experience she had following the death of her father in 2007 when she was preparing a eulogy for his funeral. While drawing upon specific memories, she realized all of them were directly connected to photographs, causing her to wonder if she remembered the moments, or if the pictures had created false memories.

“I wanted to make work about this phenomenon, but the project didn’t actually take form until many years later,” Orloff said.

“About five years ago, I inherited thousands of neglected prints and slides that had been in my father’s basement, where they were damaged by flooding. I started photographing them in the studio, not knowing what I would do with the images, but hoping to salvage some of the family pictures for posterity,” she said. “It wasn’t until I saw them enlarged on a computer screen that I recognized their poignancy and greater relevance: I saw metaphors for loss and the fragmentary, ephemeral nature of memory.”

“My Favorite Dress” from “Elusive Memory,” color photograph on rag paper, by Deborah Orloff

Her new work utilizes the severely damage photos.

“‘Elusive Memory’ explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details,” Orloff said.

The exhibition is on display at Workspace Gallery in Lincoln, Neb. Upcoming exhibitions include Youngstown State University’s Solomon Gallery, Vincennes University’s Shircliff Gallery in Indiana, and Anna Maria College’s Art Center Gallery in Massachusetts.

In addition, Orloff’s project was featured recently online at “Aint — Bad,” an independent publisher of new photographic art.

Samples of Orloff’s work can be seen on her website at deborahorloff.com.


Roger Ray Humanities Institute – “I Got a Lust for Life”

A one-day public program that began in Detroit and finished in Toledo explored the impact of the African-American Great Migration on literary and musical expression in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

The program, “I Got a Lust for Life: The Unique Words and Sounds of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan,” included panel discussions, poetry readings and musical performances on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Detroit at Wayne State University and in Toledo at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and Toledo Museum of Art.

The program began in Detroit with panel discussion at Wayne State University’s Schaver Music Recital Hall. The panel included Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records and official archivist for the White Stripes; John Gibbs Rockwood, Toledo author of the 2014 book “Can I Get a Witness” that features his photographs of iconic rock, pop, blues and folk musicians performing in the region during the early 1970s through the 2000s; Ramona Collins, Toledo-based popular jazz singer; and Oliver Ragsdale Jr., president of the Carr Center, a community hub for African-American artistic expression in Detroit.

Roger Ray Humanities I Got a Lust for Life
Detroit morning event (Schaver Music Recital Hall, Old Main, Wayne State University)

“I Got a Lust for Life” then moved to Toledo, where Tyehimba Jess performed a poetry reading and held a book signing at the McMaster Center of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Jess is a 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Detroit whose work has focused on music, biography and African-American history. He read read from “Olio,” his award-winning collection of poetry that weaves together sonnet, song and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded, African-American performers from the Civil War to World War I.


McMaster Center, Main Library, Toledo Lucas County Public Library
McMaster Center, Main Library, Toledo Lucas County Public Library

The program  concluded with a panel discussion in the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art with Jess; M.L. Liebler, a Detroit-based, award-winning poet and editor of the anthology “Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond”; Frances Brockington, associate professor of voice at Wayne State University; and Dr. Lee Ellen Martin, jazz vocalist and Jon Hendricks scholar.  Mack and Duchan moderated the discussion, which was followed by a musical performance  by UT Jazz students an alumni.

Audience inthe TMA Glass Pavilion
“I
Got a Lust for Life” in the TMA Glass Pavilion.

“I Got a Lust for Life: The Unique Words and Sounds of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan” was sponsored by the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities at The University of Toledo, which advocates for and supports the study of human culture — from a great variety of fields — at all levels of learning and scholarship. Additional support for the program was provided by UT, WSU, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo.com and the Toledo Museum of Art.