Walking in Lightness is a multisensory presentation of Gutiérrez’s subjective experience as a Mexican woman living and working in New York. Gutiérrez uses a range of media to investigate how the conditions of everyday life set the stage for our experiences and in doing so shape our individual and collective identities. Through the work, Gutiérrez presents a collective culture of the Mexican immigrant; reminding us of the sociopolitical imbalances at the same time emphasizing a broader definition of America.
This process-based work begins with psychogeographic sound walks through Sunset Park Brooklyn, a neighborhood largely populated by Mexican immigrants. On these walks Gutiérrez uses a disposable 35mm camera to document her environment. This throwaway tool emphasizes the non-credibility of photography as a reliable medium for documentation. In the resulting gelatin silver prints, Gutiérrez presents multiple iterations of the same print with variations in tone from very dark to very light. These variations reiterate the parallels between the process of artistic creation, and her experience as an immigrant by referencing both the notion of invisibility and ‘ever-becoming.’ In the video Walking in Lightness, the artist documents herself working in the darkroom. She incorporates two-dimensional animations made with the photographic prints, accompanied by binaural sound tracks which emphasize the narrator’s voice as a woman of color inhabiting an adopted environment.
Throughout the exhibition, the gallery will also function as a performative studio; using the space to create visual essays created from darkroom test prints, which comprise part of the video installation. The visibility of the analog film process, the studio, and scheduled Chinatown soundwalks invite the viewer to participate in the artist’s experience, thus establishing a relationship between the cultural identity of the observer (the ethnographer) and artist.
Amanda Gutiérrez (b. 1978, Mexico City) explores the experience of home, belonging, and cultural identity by bringing into focus details of everyday practices whose ordinary status makes it particularly hard for us to notice their key role in defining who we are. Trained initially as a stage designer from The National School of Theater, Gutiérrez completed her MFA in Media and Performance Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Gutiérrez has held numerous art residencies in FACT Liverpool in the UK, ZKM in Germany, TAV in Taiwan, Bolit Art Center in Spain, Baxter St at the Camera Club of NY, Harvestworks, and MISE-EN_PLACE Bushwick. Her work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as The Liverpool Biennale in 2012, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She was a recipient of a grant from the National System of Art Creators, in Mexico.
Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is a 501(c)3 artist run arts organization. Each year, Baxter St at CCNY selects four emerging photographers living in New York City for the Workspace Residency Program, which offers them analog and digital workspace at the International Center of Photography, access to the Baxter St at CCNY community and programs, and solo exhibitions at Baxter St. This exhibition is the second in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2017 winners of the Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, Fujifilm of North America, and Awagami Factory.