Our next Artist You Need To Know is Gerald Slota. Slota is an American artist and photographer who has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally : he “is known for a deconstructed style of working with his own or found photographs and drawing, cutting, and transforming the images.” (from here)
There is an arresting quality to his images that speaks to both his artistic acumen as well as the ‘narratives’ he presents, that both engage and unsettle. “It’s a very intuitive process …. I start with a loose theme and work with a variety of materials to see if I can create something that, aesthetically, falls within that idea. If I make a mistake, I run with it, which, ultimately, adds to the feel of the image.” (from an interview with The New Yorker)
The images below are from his series Metallic : 2021 – 2023.
Slota’s exhibition record is impressive. Solo shows have been mounted at the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), Langhans Galerie (Prague, Czech Republic), Recontres D’ Arles in Arles (France) and many times his work has been mounted in solo shows at Ricco / Maresca Gallery in NYC.
His images have been published in a plethora of places. Notable examples include The New York Times Magazine, Vice, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Discover, Scientific America, as well as more art focused publications like BOMB, Artforum, ARTNEWS, Art in America, and Aperture. A more extensive list of publications that he’s contributed his artwork to, sometimes as features and other times in collaboration with writers, can be seen here.
The images below are from Slota’s series Fable.
“I’m drawn to the provocativeness of the darkness of life,” [Slota says] but suggested that the viewer’s reading of the work is always his or her own: “If you read something as being dark, well, maybe you, too, are a little dark. As I layer the image, or deconstruct it, the original concept becomes that bit more foggy and, I think, if something is not easily readable or understandable at a first look, it can create a sense of unease or confusion in the viewer. So there is that undercurrent of discomfort in the final art work.” (from The New Yorker)
Slota has also worked with a number of writers to illustrate books, including The Misfists and Imaging Eden: Photographers Discover the Everglades.
The American writer Joyce Carol Oates (from the introduction she penned for Slota’s book Gerald Slota : Story in 2012) offers the following : “Slota’s art resists even as it teases us with the possibility of a coherent narrative; like a mirage ever retreating to the horizon, such art is tantalizing and elusive.” This publication was praised by the New York Times as one of the Top Ten Photo Books of that year.
The images below are from Slota’s series A Here After.
Slota teaches primarily at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, but is also an instructor at the New York Film Academy, and has been an instructor at other significant institutions, such as the International Center for Photography (ICP) and William Paterson University of New Jersey (Wayne, NJ).
Important awards he’s earned include a Polaroid 20” x 24” Grant, a MacDowell Artist Residency, and a Mid-Atlantic Fellowship Grant (in the years 2001,2009 and 2021). His work can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Norton Museum of Art and the George Eastman Museum.
This is just a teaser of Slota’s very prolific practice : much more of Gerald Slota’s innovative and engaging artworks can be enjoyed here at his site, and a more detailed list of publications and exhibitions can be seen here.