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Artist ID: 2330

The project ‘Nowhere But Here’ reconstructs 1970’s Department of the Interior Geological Survey maps of the Mississippi Delta in order to investigate broader notions of identity/experience as they relate to history, transition, memory, ethereality and place. Though these particular maps reflect demarcated territory occupied by my family for multiple generations, the finished works are less about a precise representation of reality than the formulation of a representation of the world in which we currently find ourselves. The project is a study of lines based on lineage, perception (both real and imagined), and ecology. I question and contest these lines, reflecting an altered interpretation of our layered past and indeterminate future, and I challenge the narrow geographic readings of place in order to consider contemporary experience and the psychology of manufactured space.

Art as an idea and Art as an action. I see my work as straddling these two sources. It is a balance of the mental and the physical, the territory of ideas and the territory of materials and places. At the heart of my work is a desire for a direct engagement with my surroundings in order to create an inventory of experience. It is about being a body in the world and about measuring the world against oneself; and it is less about a precise representation of reality than the formulation of a representation of the world in which I live.

My photographic work is a deliberate attempt to subvert a physical environment and transform it into a new kind of visual language that both reflects and denies the represented forms. Through this process, I am attempting to generate imagery that activates the imagination and emotional state of the viewer in order to provide a space for open thinking. If you use the believability of photography, you can portray things as matter-of-fact and in that way shape a new reality. For me, the images are rich mediations on desire, frailty, promises, boredom, hurt, envy, connections, missed connections and transcendent beauty.

I am continuously trying to find ways, primarily through photography but also with video, drones, sculpture, scanners, installation and the use of other new media, where the imagery and the material and the meaning are not an illustration of my will but more serve as a platform for visual and intellectual engagement. As I see it, the real challenge, as it always is with the artist, is to humanize life, to formulate it for someone else, to render its interstices, to try to tell a truth, to show how life is lived, and therefore to affirm life. But somehow reality does not tolerate its own reflection; rather it seems to reject it. Thus, my firm belief is that only a different reality, whatever it is, may be substituted for the reality one wishes to convey. In the best case, an artist describes not only the situation and objects, but endows them with a deeper meaning and lets them transcend themselves with a disturbing and visceral force. This is a powerful trait of art as it deprives us of convictions and poses more questions than it answers.

Lake Roberson Newton is an artist and educator based in Memphis, Tennessee. He holds a MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a BA from Rhodes College. Lake’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, with recent shows at Katonah Museum of Art (2021), Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans (2021), Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati (2021), Susquehanna Art Museum (2020), Masur Museum of Art (2020), Middle Tennessee State University (2020), Texas Woman’s University (2020), Oklahoma State University (2019), Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (2019), and Fort Wayne Museum of Art (2018). His work has appeared in numerous online and print journals including Float Magazine, Art Papers, Ain’t Bad Magazine, Oxford American, The Sun Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, and Leica Fotographie International. His creative research explores both banal moments and historical contexts, and tests how these can be elevated as signs or signifiers of human existence and communication. The work is generated utilizing the diverse media of digital photography, flatbed scanners, video, drones, sound and installation.

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