ONLINE October 13th, 6:30-8:30pm
Featuring photographers Becky Wilkes, Rita Koehler, and Mikael Owunna
This event is free to attend and open to the public. Register HERE
Our October PRC Nights Online will be hosted by J. Sybylla Smith, a visual activist captivated by the power of photography to create individual and collective change in exhibition and book form. She has curated solo and group exhibitions featuring the work of more than 100 international photographers. In addition to being an independent curator, Smith collaborates with emerging to seasoned professionals to illuminate, elevate and amplify their work focusing on exploring content, identifying impactful images and developing a powerful presentation in image and text. For the past decade she has taught her unique creative curriculum, Concept Aware® through workshops and lectures created a framework to provide a structure of exploration to the creative process and strengthen artistic practice.
“It is my pleasure to share the work of three contemporary photographers, Becky Wilkes, Rita Koehler, and Mikael Owunna. Each of their subject matter and creative practice is highly unique. They will share visuals of current work, discuss how their concepts evolved and their innovations to present their work in the most impactful forms in image, multi-media and text. I met each photographer at a portfolio review which led to our further collaborations. A component of our discussion will address specifics of our collaboration, how our relationship developed and it’s impact on their work.” – J. Sybylla Smith
Becky Wilkes lives on Eagle Mountain Lake in Azle, TX. Educated as a Chemical Engineer at Texas A&M, she chose to spend much of her life as a stay-at-home mother of four children who have now blessed her with a multitude of grandchildren. Thus began her study of chaos and order which permeates much of her work including her pre-pandemic project Ditched, which examines thousands of items of trash collected from the lakefront. When the pandemic began, she felt compelled to bring her declining parents to live with her and her husband, pivoting her to portraiture of the fated couple. Twice recognized as Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50, Till Death Do Us Part bares witness to the struggles of mortality, aging, and grief. Recently exhibited in Fort Worth and curated with and by J. Sybylla Smith, the multimedia exhibition illuminated the love, intimacy, and vulnerability shared between Wilkes and her parents.
Rita Koehler is an American photographer and lens-based artist, who grew up by the little Blue River in Kansas City, Missouri. Her series, Glitch Mommy, evolves from a personal story of an unsuccessful, decade long attempt to adopt and all that came with that experience. These lens-based artworks document the historical context in which she and her spouse, as two women married and living in the Midwest, pursued adoption previous to and during the passage of marriage equality laws. Glitch Mommy currently consists of a two time-based video installations and more than thirty, unique works created by layering images, then reworking each piece with water, paint, ink, and other media. Koehler received her BA in Psychology and Theology from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN, completed her MFA in Visual Studies from Lesley University College of Art and Design, and completed a Certificate Program in Curatorial Studies through the University of Chicago. Past residencies include New Edition and The Center Program at Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago; The Wild Residency – Artist in Residence – Venice, Italy; National Performance Network Residency through 516 Arts in Albuquerque; and Flash Powder Projects in Highlands, NC. Her works have been exhibited throughout the country as well as featured in Fraction Magazine, Focal Point, Cooking Light Magazine, and other commercial and university publications.
Mikael Owunna is a Nigerian American multi-media artist, filmmaker, and engineer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Exploring the intersections of visual media with engineering, optics, Blackness, and African cosmologies, his work seeks to elucidate an emancipatory vision of possibility that pushes people beyond all boundaries, restrictions, and frontiers. Owunna’s work has been exhibited across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and been collected by institutions such as the Nasher Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Equal Justice Initiative; Duke University Pratt School of Engineering; and National Taiwan Museum. His work has also been featured in media ranging from the New York Times to CNN, NPR, VICE, and The Guardian. He has lectured at venues including Harvard Law School, World Press Photo (Netherlands), Tate Modern (UK), and TEDx. Owunna has published two monographs: Limitless Africans (FotoEvidence, 2019) and Cosmologies (ClampArt, 2021). Owunna’s multi-media practice includes film, and in 2021 he directed the dance film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House) with Marques Redd. Owunna’s work has been commissioned for major public art installations by organizations including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Foundation, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Orange Barrel Media.