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In Exhibits and Collections, UC Fine Art Photographer Examines How We See

UC fine art photographer Jordan Tate currently has or will have works on exhibit from Columbus, Ohio, to Stockholm, Sweden.

Date: 6/23/2013
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Jordan Tate
University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Jordan Tate currently has five works on exhibit at the Riffe Gallery as part of an exhibit featuring artists who illustrate the variety and complexity of photography as a medium by using everything from the earliest photographic processes to the latest digital technologies.
He describes his work in this exhibit as an examination of how we see, what we see and what merits being seen, and in fact, one of the works in the show as been acquired by the Columbus Museum of Art as part of its permanent collection.
That work, simply titled “New Work #169,” is actually an installation sculpture that incorporates ancient Greek and Roman statuary by unknown artists depicting now-unknown individuals and a satyr.
New Work #169
New Work #169

Explains Tate, “This installation is an examination of institutional authority and the canonization of works of art. These unknown works carry whatever value and prestige they have based on two powerful forces: the weight of the notion of a museum and the value of preserved history."
Similarly, another work by Tate, titled “New Work #141,” was recently acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum. The work consists of a series of 10 images that, collectively, serve as an exploration of process and practice in contemporary image viewing and production.
He states, “The most valuable aspect of having works acquired by institutions is that these works are now placed within the context of an institution, which inherently affects their context and brings additional gravity to the work by being within the context of art history. They will now have a separate, enduring life. They will continue to engage in a dialogue with the rest of art history, under the stewardship of the Cincinnati Art Museum."
“New Work 141,” along with several others by Tate, was also recently acquired by the  Bidwell Projects, a Cleveland-based effort to collect and invest in photography-based art and artists.

In September, Tate will exhibit one work in a Stockholm, Sweden, exhibit titled “Render,” at the Gallery Steinsland Berliner.  After that, in the fall, from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, he will also have a solo exhibit of a dozen works in New York’s Denny Gallery.

In 2010, Aperture Magazine described Tate’s work as wrestling “with one of the key contemporary preoccupations of our field: photography qua photography. In other words: How do we see? What are suitable subjects for photography? And what are viable means of image-making?”

About his “New Work” series, that same editorial went on: “…it’s not that the work is interesting just because it's new; it's interesting because it offers a compelling and quirky exploration of the work involved in new photography."

Tate deliberately titles his works using numbers because he believes it is the “job of the work to communicate independent of title. What might be called an informative title narrows the experience, and more than I wish to inform, I want to invite viewers to engage in an experience.”