GrandLife just might have uncovered a boy wonder. Photographer, Jordan Sullivan was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Ohio, Michigan, and then in Indonesia. He studied at the University of Michigan and University College London before moving to New York City where he worked for photographers Mike & Doug Starn. He’s exhibited internationally and published three volumes of his work. The Ghost Country, his most recent book of photographs, collages, and prose, was made in collaboration with designer Pamela Love and released in 2011. All this, and he’s yet to turn 30 years of age.
Next week, Jordan will launch an exhibition he’s curated, THE WILD & THE INNOCENT at Soho’s Clic Gallery. Currently, Jordan also has his personal work in an exhibition entitled A ROOM FOREVER at NowIDeA Gallery in Tokyo, and will follow THE WILD & THE INNOCENT with another solo show at Clic Gallery, which will be entitled ROADSONGS.
I interviewed Jordan Sullivan to discover the inspiration and process behind curating his new show, and found a modestly, eloquent creature resides inside this talented young ingénue.
GL: Can you tell me a little about the exhibition?
JS: The exhibition is called The Wild & The Innocent. The initial idea for the show was to juxtapose portraits of the human body with pictures of the natural world, but as I began selecting work the theme broadened and began to explore humans and our relationship and interactions with nature, as well as nature’s affect on us, both physically and emotionally. Images in the show include the back of a sunburned girl, flesh that looks like a mountain, a girl bathing, a boy pissing on a tree, a heart-shaped wave, etc. For a long time my own photography has been looking at a lot of these ideas. Nature to me is a mirror – I look for human reflections in the natural world and vice verso. So this show was a chance to explore that idea from as many different perspectives as possible.
GL: Why did you choose these artists?
JS: Many of the artists in this show I have been aware of and admired for a while, some I’m friends with, others I’ve exhibited with. They are some of the best emerging and underground photographers around today, and I just had a strange intuition about including most of them in this show. At first, they all seemed to have work that sort of inexplicably fit with the theme, but now, when I see all their work together, it actually says so much more about the concept than I could have imagined. When someone curates something the work chosen always gives the show a language of its own. There’s a lot to learn from the process of selecting work for an exhibition with a specific theme. It’s good to be open during the selection process and allow the work to take the show in new directions that may give the curator new perspectives on whatever ideas he or she has already established. I find it’s always best not to try and control anything too much. I try to follow this philosophy when I’m making my own work as well.
GL: What is it about their work do you think goes together well?
JS: That’s a good question and a difficult one, as all of these photographers have such rich and complex work. But aside from all of them having eyes for some sort of weird beauty, I believe the common bond (and this is a personal observation – I’m not at all speaking for the other photographers involved), is that much of their work comes from documenting their personal lives in an unabashed and intuitive way. It takes courage to do this and then to exhibit it. So maybe it’s bravery that unites all of them.
255 Centre Street, NY, NY
Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 28, 6-8pm
March 28 – April 16, 2012
Bree Apperley, Brendan Baker, Alexander Binder, Siobhan Bohnacker, Coley Brown, Patrick Buckley, Ana Cabaleiro, Samantha Casolari, Cody Chandler, Daniel Evans, Todd Fisher, Hannah Godley, Alexis Gross, Todd Jordan, Kohey Kanno, Mikael Kennedy, Collin LaFleche, Nicole Lesser, Jeff Luker, Jennilee Marigomen, Brian Merriam, Aaron McElroy, Skye Parrott, Emma Phillips, Henry Roy, Bryan Schutmaat, Brea Souders, Jordan Sullivan, Agnes Thor, Logan White
Front page image courtesy of Jeff Luker.