“Keisha Scarville: Alma” at LightWork, Syracuse

Keisha Scarville, from her new series “Alma.” 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Keisha Scarville: Alma
November 1 — December 13, 2018
Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery, Light Work, Syracuse
Gallery Talk:
Thursday, November 1, 6pm
Reception: Thursday, November 1, 5–7pm

Keisha Scarville’s primary theme is the relationship between transformation and the unknown. Grounded in photography, she works across media to explore place, absence, and subjectivity. After the death of her mother in 2015, Scarville deepened her use of photography as a way to explore how the loss of such an anchor point can affect one’s identity and sense of both absence and self in the world. Scarville’s new exhibition, titled Alma, presents a selection of photographs whose larger subject is transformation born of loss.

She has worked on this project for more than three years and has approached it in several different ways that she describes as “chapters.” Initially the work was about body as medium and then, place-as-container, particularly Guyana, South America, Alma’s birthplace, and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, an enclave of Caribbean immigrants where Scarville grew up, which she continues to call home. Working with Alma’s richly patterned clothing and possessions, Scarville says she looks for ways to visually conjure her mother’s presence. “I am interested in how the absent body lives in the photograph and the materiality of absence. I am seeking invocation, something celebratory that rethinks absence as a threshold.”

Read more about this exhibition via Light Work.