Both a former University of Memphis student and a current graduate student’s art exhibits are displayed at the Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art in the Art and Communications Building.
Artists Natalie Eddings, a U of M alumna, and Kaitlyn Dunn, a graduate student, both created contemporary art concepts to showcase their own way of interpreting visual photography.
Eddings debuted her first solo art exhibit called “Press” by defining the word in two different ways. Eddings said the concept of her exhibition was designed by collaborating with people from other cultures.
“This is just a concept that I have been working on for the past year,” Eddings said. “I’m not a fan of traditional framing methods for this work. I decided to make it a photo sculptural piece.”
Eddings took inspiration from people of different backgrounds of life to communicate to her audience how the world pressures people into thinking self-love isn’t important. She also said she intended to have the portraits hang off the wall in a unique way.
“The glass kind of offers a reflection of the photographs,” Eddings said. “Obviously, it’s not a mirror reflection. It’s more of a transparent reflection that symbolizes spirituality or a soulful kind of interception ... When you look at the whole transparent piece, it kind of looks like a book, and it is calling for the viewer to read more.”
Dunn, on the other hand, said she wanted to engage multiple senses of viewers with her exhibition.
“I have always been interested in different aspects of psychology and night photography,” Dunn said. “My main goal for this exhibition was try to create a multi-sensory environment.”
Dunn’s work is composed of panoramic photography of rural areas at night. Each photo captures different regions around the Mid-South along with audio to give people a unique perspective of the rural environment.
“A lot of the lighting itself is really low in the gallery just to try to mimic the photographs itself,” Dunn said. “[I added] in color lights to also mimic the different colored lighting in the photos.”
The atmosphere of Dunn’s art gallery consists of landscapes with heavy shadows and bright light spots. Dunn said the surreal color in the photographs gives a psychology aspect to left-behind, man-made buildings in a rural area.
U of M art professor David Horan said the two exhibitions are the complete opposite of one another.
“[Eddings’] work is almost 180 degrees opposite from what Kaitlyn is doing, in a way,” Horan said. “She’s using identity as her foundation and looking at the way we look at one another or have certain expectations about them.”
Horan said Eddings employs a unique way of displaying her photography on the wall.
“Often we see photographs sort of flat on a wall,” Horan said. “They’re not necessarily sculptural sorts of items. Natalie has always taken things off the wall, literally and figurative speaking.”
In Dunn’s exhibition, Horan said he finds her artwork and her process very intriguing.
“The conceptual understanding behind it is that she is setting up these scenarios that are about our general understanding of apprehension and fear of the unknown,” Horan said. “She’s taken [photos of] places that are really quite benign if you just look at the space, but the way she has photographed them has turn it into something that are a little more uncertain.”
The art galleries will remain open in the Art and Communications Building until Dec. 7 for anyone to view for free.