Your Community / Rochester, NY

Nigel Maister

Nigel Maister  Drag

Nigel Maister Drag

Nigel's art will be on view for at least one month at 399 Goodman St N, Rochester, NY. starting August 13, 2018.

Nigel Maister is a South African born photographic artist, theatre director, writer and designer, and collector of photography living in Rochester in upstate New York. The series (tight. word. lit.) from which this image (drag) is excerpted draws on appropriated late analog snapshot photography and re-contextualizes it in imaginative narratives through juxtaposition and dialogue. The work has been exhibited locally in upstate New York, at the Cleveland Print Room, and was also selected as one of the top ten finalists in Klompching Gallery’s Fresh 2016.

You can connect with Nigel on Instagram at @NigelMaister

Artist Statement: This work explores narrative both implied and explicit; and narrative as imaginative action--in this case, of a past photographic action that, through this work, is brought into the present.

The raw material for tight. word. lit. is snapshot photography. These images, from the 1980's onwards--the last gasp of the analog snapshot--are overlooked in the current vogue for vernacular photography which fetishizes the snapshot as art object (albeit an inadvertent one). These "late" snapshots betray little of the charm that characterize the genre at its zenith. I was frequently drawn to images that might have been discarded by the picture-taker: those that are out of focus, inexpertly composed, blanched by a too-close flash, etc. In others, content or composition might be considered banal in their simplicity or apparent “artlessness”. And in yet other selections, the performative nature of the subject matter--divorced from its context and rendered enigmatic, perplexing, or disturbing--was my departure point. But in all these variants, the series recontextualizes the nature and meaning of the snapshot--the object that serves as a commemorative artifact with a distinct function in the world. It discards that function and meaning and allows the image to transform and to evoke a potential narrative event far from the intent of the original maker.

Thus this work undermines the notion of the primacy of the individual image as a valuable artifact in and of itself, but looks at the combination of photographic artifacts in dialogue with each other for its worth. It is this that serves my goal: to rewrite these visual histories, making the viewer an active participant, forcing him/her to forge connections and create personal narratives that are compelling, mysterious and durable. The world portrayed in these works is decidedly not our world. I hope they speak to us viscerally on some other level. They are intended to present us with a "third reality": not a document of their time, nor a document of ours. These works are evocations of that interstitial space where past and present intersect and create an emotional, imaginative bridge into the subconscious which should feel immediate yet also prescient.

Curator: Lissa Rivera

Lissa Rivera is a photographer and curator based in Brooklyn, NY whose work has received multiple grants and honors and been exhibited internationally. Rivera received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, where she became fascinated with the social history of photography and the evolution of identity, sexuality and gender in relationship to material culture. ‘Beautiful Boy,’ Rivera’s latest project, takes her interest in photography’s connection with identity to a personal level, focusing on her domestic partner as muse.