MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2012
Artist Statement“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill What can the structures and the environments we create teach us about ourselves? My photographs explore the suburban American landscape on the premise that much can be learned about our contemporary culture by examining the environments that we create and that we tolerate. These images show our suburban spaces as simply that: space, geometry, design and environment. Underlying these factors are clues to understanding our society and our values. They are spaces, but also evidence of our efficiency, our consumerism, and our impersonal, regimented lifestyles. They are manifestations of modern American values and are inseparable from our American experience. If it can be said that the architecture of a culture reflects it’s values and it’s spirit, what does the strip mall say about our values? What does a Wal-Mart in every town say about our spirit? Are the buildings and structures that identify American mass culture art? Or are they malignant acne on the face of our country? They are identically reproduced across the landscape and we show little awareness of how they are experienced, their impact and semi-permanence. How can we gauge the ways in which living in such uninspired and prefabricated environments affects us as individuals and as communities? Once these places are abandoned by the companies that created them and emptied of their consumers, is there anything of value left? Or is there only a gray building and a sense of meaninglessness and alienation that remains? Are we a society so efficient and profit-driven that it is enough to be so simply and coldly utilitarian? Is this all the spirit that we have to reflect?
Sofia Silva is an Argentinean photographer working in subjects related to the consumer society. She studied Sociology and Art History at the National University of La Plata and subsequently studied photography at the University of Buenos Aires, the International Center of Photography and with photographers Eduardo Gil and Lutz Matszche. She is an established freelance photographer currently based in Baltimore. Silva’s photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and Argentina. Her most recent exhibitions are: Meditations on the Landscape of Desire, a solo show at C. Grimaldis Gallery; Corridor, Art Museum of the Americas; ComVideo at apexart, Anthropic Deserts, solo show at VVVgallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina; FAX, Contemporary Museum. Other exhibits include: Panoramic Photographs, solo show, C. Grimaldis Gallery; Looking Now: BMA Digital Photography Project, Baltimore Museum of Art; Imaging Issues Imaging Solutions, Open Society Insitute-Baltimore; Noches Encandiladas, solo show, Galería Arte X Arte, Buenos Aires; among many others. She was an Artists-in-Residence at Center for Photography at Woodstock, Critic’s Residency Program at Maryland Art Place, and received an Individual Artist Award from Maryland Arts State Council. She is represented by Ricco Maresca Gallery in NYC and C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore.