Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present As it Was Give(n) to Me an exhibition of pho-tographs and ephemera by artist Stacy Kranitz. This is Kranitz’s second exhibition with the gallery. A reception for the artist will be held Friday, Octo-ber 25, 6-8pm and an Artist Talk will be held Saturday, October 26, 2pm.
As it was Give(n) to Me is a collection of images, taken by Kranitz, over a ten year span. The series traces explo-ration and extraction in the Appalachian region of the Unit-ed States. This exhibition was recently exhibited at Ren-contres d’Arles Photography Festival in France and shortlisted for the Louis Roederer New Discovery Prize. A forthcoming monograph of this series will be published by Twin Palm in the Spring of 2020.
Beginning in the 19th Century, the Appalachian region was devastated by the coal industry which took valuable resources from the land, leaving the inhabitants of the region impover-ished. In the 1960s, the War on Poverty was declared, with the government announcing it would put an end to poverty in America and Appalachia was the epicenter. Krantiz states “Pho-tographers descended on Appalachia to make images that would help unite Americans around the effort to improve the lives of a destitute and struggling people. Instead, the photographers offered a simplistic and superficial image of poverty that has haunted the Appalachian people ever since.”
Kranitz began work on this series in 2009. While there, she became aware of the problematic role of photography in this region. “I began by reckoning with the fact that I had come to Appalachia with a fantasy of what I wanted it to be. I realized this fantasy contested my desire to provide an objective portrayal because objectivity in documentary photography is its own kind of fantasy. My work in Appalachia is about the tension between these two desires.”
Much like a novel, the work in this exhibition is presented in chapters: Arrival, Exploration, Ex-traction, Mutiny and Salvation. In these chapters, photographs, ephemera, drawings, maps and histories tell the story of the region. Kranitz’s photographs give us a look at life in Central Appalachia complete with landscapes, industry, religion, poverty, and the residents who inhabit these communities. In addition, Kranitz has included self-portraits inspired by the 1967 historical fiction novel Christy by Catherine Marshall. Kranitz re-imagined herself as the title character Christy Huddleson by staging plot lines and entanglements in the Tennessee landscape. A selection of portraits recently made while Kranitz was the Artist in Residence in the Great Smokey Mountain Park will be exhibited for the first time.
Stacy Kranitz lives and works in Smithville, Tennessee. Kranitz received her B.A. from New York University and her MFA from University of California, Irvine. Kranitz has exhibited both national-ly and internationally. Her work is included in the traveling exhibition Southbound: Photographs of and About the New South and was exhibited at Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival this summer. She is the recipient of the Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography, 2017 and the Time Magazine Instagram Photographer of the Year, 2015.