Location: In Flux Space, E110 Regis Center for Art, 405 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis
Title: “In Position/Imposition: Process and Place.”
Artist Statement: My current portraits evolved out of many years of photographing people, especially my husband, the poet, Jim Moore, and creating a persona using him as what I sometimes call “my beloved Everyman.” In my pictures, Jim is a middle aged man doing non-dramatic things: sleeping or sitting or reading the newspaper. Although they began as descriptive works with psychological overtones, these portraits have increasingly been about the viewer’s relationship to Moore rather than Moore himself. He is life-size in all but a few images, and I have organized and chosen the subject matter that surrounds him to create an experience for the viewer that closely parallels an experience of looking in the world, to the point that boundaries become blurred.
Issues of intimacy, power in relationships, and so on—daily life stuff that we aren’t necessarily conscious of, but that goes on all the time—enter these portraits. My style is as relaxed as a snapshot precisely to invite the viewer to slip inside the picture-place/situation as we so easily enter a snapshot. To a greater and greater extent, the human element—Jim or my niece, Mira, for example—has been entangled or surrounded with culturally symbolic or metaphorical elements. The landscape or “ground” behind the “figure” is not secondary or incidental.
For twenty-five years I’ve also worked extensively with dancers and others in the time-based arts. The evolution of my photographic practice has been to treat photographs more and more like site specific sculpture, thinking of the room in which they will be seen, the viewer’s scale in relationship to the scale of my subject matter, how the viewer’s time will relate to the implied time in the photograph, and other such issues that are familiar to practitioners of dance, installation, architecture, and theater, but haven’t been traditional issues of photography.
I am dedicated to reaching out beyond the boundaries that separate us as isolated individuals.
Biography: JoAnn Verburg’s photographs have been exhibited nationally in museums and galleries, and are in collections of The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The LA County Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, The National Portrait Gallery, The International Center of Photography, The International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago) The Weisman Art Museum, The Wellesley College Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) and The Museum of Modern Art (New York) among others. Verburg received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986.
Verburg was a founding member of The Rephotographic Survey Project in Colorado, and located sites that had been photographed in the 19th century and rephotographed them as they appeared in 1977. In 1980 she created The Visiting Artist Program for Polaroid Corp.in Massachusetts. Since 1990 she has created public art for the Hiawatha branch of the Minneapolis Light Rail, The University of Minnesota, and The Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, as well as three collaborative artworks at Art Park near Niagara Falls with her husband, poet Jim Moore.
The Museum of Modern Art has recently announced plans for a mid-career retrospective of her work from July 15 through October 8, 2007.