|Naples, Fla. - June 12, 2012 - The Naples Art Association awarded $5,000 to Washington D.C. photographer Jon Malis, 27, naming him the winner of the second annual Camera USA: National Photography Exhibition and Award 2012. His artwork, Specimen 66, along with 47 additional photographs by artists from across the country is on view now through August 10, 2012 at The von Liebig Art Center. The grand prize award was presented during the preview reception on Friday, June 1.
Malis is a member of the adjunct faculty at the American University's school of communication/film and media arts. His prize-winning artwork is part of a larger body of work, reMind, which was inspired during research for documentary he and a team of American University filmmakers and anthropologists are producing. reMind is based on scientific specimens of brain tissue produced during the 1900s by Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, a psychiatric hospital operated by the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health. It was the first large-scale, federally run psychiatric hospital in the United States. Malis found glass-plate slides of brain tissue among the stored artifacts at the hospital and felt the vibrations of a new artistic idea. "At the time, most of my personal work had to deal with personal investigations into my own memories, and I saw these as a perfect way to start examining the processes of memory and abstract interpretation outside my own personal experiences," Malis said.
Juror Bradly Treadaway selected the winner of this exhibition by going with his instinct, praising Malis as a photographer, "who, instead of filling in the margins of our history books, is choosing to turn the page and help write a new chapter in photography," he said. Treadaway's full Juror's statement and comments about this innovative photographer's work is available on the Naples Art Association website at this link: Exhibition details for Camera USA. Click here to see hi-res images from the show.
In only its second year, Camera USA has attracted more than 150 entries from photographers all across the country. Juror Treadaway is from the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. Treadaway is a faculty member and the digital media coordinator for the ICP. Founded in 1974, the ICP is a photography museum, school and research center in Midtown Manhattan. Public programs at the ICP address issues in photography and its relationship to art, culture and society.
The Camera USA: National Photography Exhibition and Award 2012 will be on view in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery at The von Liebig Art Center through Aug. 10, 2012. It is generously sponsored by PNC Bank, Physicians Regional Healthcare System, Publix Super Markets Charities, Vi at Bentley Village and Naples Daily News. Thanks also ARTMove, LLC who provides artwork shipping and receiving and reception sponsor Here's Howe Catering.
About Jon Malis, in his own words:
"I'm originally from Andover, Massachusetts, but I've been living in D.C. since 2003 (excluding a 1-year-ish stint in Columbus, Ohio from 2007-2008).
I first got into photography when I was six years old in Andover; I won a camera in the local camera store's summer raffle. It was a little red block of plastic (the kind where you load the film, press a button, wind it up and you have no control over anything else in the equation), but it was enough to get me started. This was right around the time my father started heavy travel for his job, so in the summers, we'd travel through Europe, and I'd be snapping away. But I think the seed was planted long before that. My mom, in the early 80's, was the PR/Communications Director for the Massachusetts Art Council, and before that, the Boston Ballet, so art's something I always grew up with and was exposed to from before I was born. I didn't take my first actual photography "class" until high school, and then I kind of fell in to art classes my freshman year in college (undergrad at The George Washington University) through a lucky draw of my inability to register for classes in my originally-intended major (international relations and political science), and then by the first semester of my sophomore year I'd declared as a studio art/photography major.
- Working as a photojournalist for local/community news - everyone seemed to know my name, and any time I would introduce myself, someone new would immediately open up and show me a little sliver of the world in which they lived.
- Traveling to London and Salvador, Brazil, to photograph a documentary film about an international Brazilian drum band that comes together twice-yearly to play two of the world's largest street carnivals.
- Now that I've been teaching undergraduate students in American University's film department for the past year, watching my students succeed in their own work, from their screening work in film festivals to winning awards to helping them find jobs in the business to getting into some of the nation's toughest graduate programs for filmmakers.
In addition to my own work as an artist, I work as a filmmaker, cinematographer, sometimes Professor, and commercial/editorial photographer (I'm a recovering newspaper photojournalist). I also own a digital printing studio - TUBE Studio - where I have the pleasure of collaborating with my friends, and some of Washington DC's top artists, producing large-format inkjet prints for their upcoming shows. I'm not sure how much time that gives me to have a life outside work, but I try and travel overseas at least once a year. I can also promise that I'll be spending the next month trying to watch every single Euro 2012 game possible. And I really need to get better at my tennis game this summer."