Eric Plaag / Toby Morriss / Jennifer Knight present
A exhibition of fine photography at Gallery 80808, 808 Lady Street in Columbia’s downtown Vista. For additional information, please call the gallery at (803) 252-6134.
Opening reception, Thursday, January 17 from 6 – 10 PM
Additional hours: Friday, January 18 from 6 – 10 PM; Saturday, January 19 from 11 – 7; Sunday, January 20 from 11 – 3; Monday, January 21 from 6 – 10; and Tuesday, January 22 from 6 – 10.
There will be a gallery discussion on Tuesday, January 22 at 7 PM.
The three artists have provided the following images, statements, and biographies.
Jennifer Knight is a photographer and book artist, born and raised in Lancaster, South Carolina. In May she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Arts Photography from the University of South Carolina. Jennifer is most at home in the traditional darkroom setting, but has begun to explore digital color photography as well. She enjoys creating narrative works through her book art and directorial style of photography. Her most recent work takes a documentary approach, using the camera as a means of recording experience and memory.
In June of this year, when most people were beginning their summer vacations, my life was put on hold. My mother, my best friend, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. My camera was right by my side during this time, the most difficult of my life. I photographed when I couldn’t think of another thing in the world to take me away from reality. Documenting the ordeal became a means of escape.
After my mom passed away in July, I used my camera to say all the things to her that I wished I could have said. In this way I can still communicate with her. I use my camera as a tool for coping with life without my mom. Each photograph in this series contains a message, a moment, or a memory for her.
In my previous work, I acted as director and created narrative photographs. In this series I am telling my truest and most personal story: one of my mama and me and our last summer together.
F. TOBIAS MORRIS
After my seven year and one semester battle with a bachelor’s degree (Philosophy, University of Oklahoma, 1998), I thought I’d never want to spend any more time in the classroom. It turned out I appreciated the university setting much more than the alternative. Back to school I went, and since I’m so practical, a Masters of Fine Arts (Photography, Tulane University, 2005) was my choice. After arriving in Columbia, I was fortunate enough to be picked up by the Art Department at USC and to fall in with a great group of creative individuals. You can find me these days caring for aged motorcycles at Machinery and Design Company or pontificating to young artists in USC’s photo studio. Look for me in the dark.
Artist Statement, Facades
I photograph scenes that call to me, that ask to be photographed, that implore me to capture their likeness. I keep photographing those scenes to gain insight about my
subconscious thought processes. The images guide my conscious thoughts toward a more full understanding.
The photographs in this series presented themselves during peaceful contemplation while traveling. At first glance I felt as if I was moving through a great forest, but when I took the time to really look into the trees, I observed their true nature. Beyond a thin strip of
trees lay the actual countryside. I realized my deeper thoughts were telling my surface thoughts something about the state of the Toby. I trained the single eye of my camera on the passing trees and slowed its shutter speed in order to look past the facade.
Eric Plaag was born and raised in Virginia, where he completed his BA in Religion and Philosophy at the College of William and Mary and an MFA in Fiction Writing at George Mason University. After enduring nine years in various New England towns, he moved to Columbia in 2002 and completed his PhD in American History at the University of South Carolina in 2006. Since then, he has made his living as a photographer, writer, historian, and documentary filmmaker. When not making images or stringing together words, he spends an immense amount of time pondering the mysteries of the universe.
Artist Statement, But One Man Alone…
In June 2007, I departed by myself for Greece, trusting in the guidance of the ancient gods and following in the footsteps of Odysseus as I sought a return to a metaphysical home of my own. I brought my Holga and my Bronica along, unsure of exactly what I was looking for or what I would be shooting. As I traveled across Attica and the Peloponnese, then up the Ionian coast, circumstances soon forced me to come to terms with puzzles and mysteries that have remained unresolved in my life for quite some time. What I found was so inexpressibly startling and sublime that I had no choice but to let my cameras speak for me when words failed me or proved otherwise unutterable in describing those experiences.
I do not plan my series in advance. Instead, I have learned to take things as they come, to let my cameras show me what needs to be seen. In crafting this series, I chose to let the Bronica serve as my spyglass—allowing me to see experience through the deeds of the great hero whose footsteps I was trying to follow—and the Holga function as my compass, leading me almost supernaturally to discoveries and revelations I had not anticipated when I left home. The text that accompanies these images was chosen later, after I had returned home, from Robert Fagles’ excellent translation of The Odyssey and from my own personal journal entries written during my walkabout with the ancients.