Where We Land: Zora Murff, Jordan Weber,
& Lachell Workman
curated by Amanda Smith
Opening Reception: June 16
On View: June 16 – August 12
Where we land
Where We Land explores the landscape of disproportionate violence against people of color. Place and environment influence cultural perceptions surrounding race, violence, complicity, and imminent danger, and in turn, those perceptions affect the ongoing relationship of communities to the spaces they occupy. Despite the increased visibility and transparency of incidents of brutality through viral sharing on social media, public reactions to these scenes are deeply polarized and influenced by geographical divides that our digital access has not successfully bridged. Photographer Zora Murff (Lincoln, NE), and multidisciplinary artists Jordan Weber (Des Moines, IA) and Lachell Workman (Bridgeport, CT) use the physical materials and visual details of urban and natural environments as a vehicle to explore presumed narratives and the gaps between contradictory interpretations of shared views of violence.
About the Artists
Zora Murff (Lincoln, NE) holds a BA in Psychology from Iowa State University, and studied photography at the University of Iowa, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is currently an MFA candidate. Murff’s work has been featured in The Guardian, The British Journal of Photography, VICE Magazine, and Wired Magazine’s Raw File, and exhibited at numerous venues including Filter Gallery in Chicago, The Colorado Photographic Arts Center in Denver, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Hite Art Institute in Louisville.
Jordan Weber (Des Moines, IA) attended Simpson College, Kirkwood College, and American University in Rome, Italy, and is an Artist Fellow and Project Grant recipient from the Iowa Arts Council. Weber’s exhibitions include the Des Moines Art Center, Smack Mellon Gallery in Brooklyn, Gallery 38 in Los Angeles, La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City, and The Space Gallery in Chicago. His work has been reviewed by The Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, The Washington Times, and The Des Moines Register.
Lachell Workman (Bridgeport, CT) earned a BFA from The University of Connecticut and an MFA from SUNY at Purchase College. Workman was awarded residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Shakenden Project at Storm King Art Center, Ox-Bow, and the Lower East Side Printshop in New York. She has exhibited at Yale University’s Greene Gallery, Bronx Art Space, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY.
Where We Land runs from June 16th through August 12th. Artists will be present during the Opening Reception on June 16th.
Paul and Annette Smith
Wanda D. Ewing Gallery
The Wanda D. Ewing Gallery is dedicated to the Omaha artist, educator, and founding Union for Contemporary Art partner who passed away in 2013. Ewing’s work ranged from traditional print media to painting, sculpture, and fiber arts, and was influenced by folk-art aesthetics and the depiction—and lack thereof—of African-American women in popular culture and the canon of art history. Throughout her career, she represented the connections between autobiography, community, and history, often with a biting, comical edge.
Born and raised in Omaha and educated around the United States, both the artist and her work traveled around the globe: she felt strongly about the fact that where one has been in the past—literally and figuratively—affects how one proceeds in the future. This often led her to historical representations of women in popular and folk expressions, such as pin-ups, beauty advertisements, “Mammy” dolls, and “exotic” figurines, all of which promote sometimes powerful, sometimes problematic ideals of womanhood into which she often projected herself. In sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious appropriations of works by white, male artists from Western art history she similarly, meaningfully recast the figures in ethnic and gendered configurations that require viewers to rethink the originals. In so doing, Ewing encouraged dialogue around questions of who is allowed to make, see, and be seen in visual culture, and whether the arts look like the communities we live in, challenging her audiences to believe in the transformative power of art to conjure images where people might be themselves wherever they can see themselves.