A new exhibition titled Just Pictures is the manifestation of author, curator and critic Antwaun Sargent’s interest in young imagemakers working between “the commercial and the conceptual by creating worlds entirely their own”.
Recently opened at projects+gallery in St Louis, Missouri, the exhibition features works by eight visual artists chosen for their distinctive visions and the broad impact of their work: Mous Lamrabat, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Ruth Ossai, Renell Medrano, Joshua Kissi, Yagazie Emezi, Justin Solomon and Joshua Woods.
The artists were chosen by Sargent, the author behind the widely acclaimed photography book The New Black Vanguard, for the way in which their images “operate in many different contexts, photographically and culturally”, he said in a statement.
The exhibition is reflective of the growing wave of photographers that are not only redefining the photographer-subject relationship, but also working at the intersection of contexts, subject areas and disciplines, giving birth to a surge in hybrid photography that stretches from fashion to fine art to social documentary. Such images find themselves at home in a breadth of applications, often “widely circulated in museums and magazines, on social media and the walls of domestic space”, as Sargent points out.
Just Pictures speaks to the multifarious nature of imagery today, a quality that predates the internet and social media but is no doubt enhanced by them. At its core, the exhibition expresses the way in which photographs at once carry all kinds of meanings that we project onto them, and no one meaning at all.
“These images move rapidly between contexts, garnering new and often contradictory meanings, that allow them to simultaneously operate as racial representations while also being discrete product shots, documentations of family and glossies of the latest fashion trends,” Sargent adds. “For this generation of emerging imagemakers, the photographer’s eye is illimitable: a picture is just a picture.”
Just Pictures runs at projects+gallery in St. Louis, Missouri until November 21; projects-gallery.com