Emily Margarit Mason
Shadows Through a Petal
54 1/2 E. San Francisco St. #7
October 27 - December 15, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 27, 6-9pm
Closing Reception: Saturday, December 15, 6-9 pm
For Emily Margarit Mason, the deserts and mountains of New Mexico have a lot in common with the beaches of Florida where she grew up. Her art, in turn, pays homage to both mountain and sky, desert and ocean—the past echoing within the present. Her first solo exhibition in Santa Fe, Shadows Through a Petal, features meditations on place and memory that incorporate digital photography with an overtly physical art-making process. The exhibition goes on view at Strangers Collective’s No Land art space on October 27 and runs through December 15.
While her interest in photography first began with her parents' old film camera, a Canon AE-1 35 mm, she made the switch to digital halfway through her undergraduate study at MICA. But this presented a challenge for her: “It isn’t enough for me to just press a button and make a picture,” she says. “I had to find a way to use my hands.”
Mason’s practice begins by collecting raw materials she finds on treks in the surrounding landscapes of New Mexico and Colorado. She then layers these gathered materials and her own printed photographs in outdoor, set-like arrangements, which are photographed again to create her final image. By fragmenting her images both digitally and sculpturally, Mason draws our attention to the way that photography can become a stand-in for memory and, in turn, for experience itself. But, as Mason asks, “What happens between experience and memory—is memory real to the experience? What does it look like?”
This series began after Mason first spent time in New Mexico while working for a summer at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops four years ago. When she returned to Baltimore, she remained inspired by the visuals and the sensations of the desert, leading to the beginning of the body of work that she has continued to develop through the present day—as of 2017, Mason is now a full-time resident of Santa Fe. Shadows Through a Petal is the culmination of her experimentation with digital photography and alternative processes, the creation of what she calls “momentary sculptures for the camera.”
“The way Emily incorporates natural forces into her work is fundamental to her process, even though, in many ways, they are out of her control,” Strangers co-director Jordan Eddy says. “Watching her continue to develop this series has been incredibly exciting for us.” Though she has a studio now, Mason still stages her sets outside, so they are susceptible to the ever- changing effects of wind, light, and shadow. “The light out here is insane,” she says. “You have to use it.”
Emily Margarit Mason is an artist living and working in New Mexico. She received her B.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art. Mason’s work denies realism by accumulating and compressing perspectives, ultimately confusing the assumed monocular lens the camera typically provides. Her work has been shown in Baltimore, New York City, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Santa Fe. She is inspired daily by the light, landscape and magic that surrounds her.