MFA Photo Alumni Joy Mckinney, will be opening her exhibition at Real Art Ways. The exhibition, titled The Guardian consists of both a photo series and video piece. Read more about Joy and her upcoming exhibition below!
Early in life, Joy Mckinney learned to watch the world around her, silently formulating opinions and ideas about the people she encountered on a daily basis. Documenting the people, moments, and places that moved her through photography afforded her the opportunity to engage more deeply with her social environment. The Guardian explores issues of privacy and space, which Mckinney feels absorb us now more than ever. “Much of the rhetoric associated with these topics focuses on the dangers and perils of physical and even virtual contact,” she writes in her artist statement. “Little is said about the fundamental need for touch, for intimacy, for the possibilities of wordless communication, even between strangers.”
Mckinney took to the streets to push these observed social norms to the limit, transgressing notions of acceptable human contact by approaching strangers, and wordlessly, gently pressing her hand to their faces. Her subjects spanned different ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic statuses, with their various reactions captured in the blink of a shutter.
The photo series is accompanied by a second documentation of Mckinney’s social experiment, a complementary video piece titled Touch Me. While the photographs capture intimate moments of contact and the gentle nature of subjects who chose to participate, the video piece communicates the surprise, suspicion, candor, and concern of the strangers who reacted defensively to intrusion on their personal space.
For Mckinney, the acts she performed are a means of grasping the meaning of human interactions and reactions, inducing awareness of the gap that exists between our comprehension of the world and the people around us.
The Guardian opens Thursday, November 6, 2014 – Sunday, January 18, 2015. Opening reception on Thursday, November 20, 2014, from 6-10 PM at Real Art Ways: 56 Arbor Street, Hartford, CT, 06106.