The Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts is pleased to present a new series of color photographs from alumna Samantha Contis on view in the Gulf and Western Gallery. Samantha Contis is the 2006 fellowship recipient of the Tierney Family Foundation Grant supporting the development of emerging photographers.
Samantha Contis’ photographs are set in and around her hometown of rural Pennsylvania and her current residence in Connecticut. The photographs speak of the ever-evolving notion of place. The void depicted (sometimes literally) in the photographs evokes a bleak melancholy that is at odds with the “picture perfect” beauty of the landscapes. Contis’ images explore the divide between our imaginings of a place and the actuality of it. Through the passing of seasons, years, and other inescapable cycles, the photographs reveal the lingering feelings of expectations left unfulfilled.
Simple and reductive, the spare images give way to a sweeping view of the pastoral landscape where specificity comes in tiny details – tiny robins under a single towering tree, two empty ladders, a bare tree on an island of ice, a pair of geese resting beside a perfectly round pond, and a lone silo hidden behind an immense pine.
Samantha Contis was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1982. She received her BFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 2004 with a degree in Photography + Imaging and Art History. In 2006 she was awarded a fellowship through the Tierney Family Foundation. Recently, she was selected through Art + Commerce as one of 11 emerging photographers worldwide for PEEK2007. Her work will be published in October in an issue of Capricious magazine. She is currently enrolled in the MFA program in photography at Yale University.