For the past six years, Jennifer Karady has worked with American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create staged narrative photographs that depict their individual stories and address their difficulties in adjusting to civilian life. After an extensive interview process with the veteran and his/her family, Karady collaborates with the veteran to restage a chosen moment from war within the safe space of their everyday environment, often surrounded by family and friends.
For her exhibition at the Institute for the Humanities, Karady is working with U-M students who are veterans, as well as other local veterans.
Click here to learn more about Karady's Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jen Davis is a Brooklyn based photographer. For the past eleven years she has been working on a series of self-portraits dealing with issues regarding beauty, identity, and body image. She has also been exploring men as a subject and is interested in investigating the idea of relationships, both physical and psychological, with the camera. She received her MFA from Yale University in 2008, and her BA from Columbia College Chicago in 2002. Jen is represented by Lee Marks Fine Art.
For much of Alison Bechdel’s thirty-year career she has skulked on the cultural margins, writing, drawing, and self-syndicating the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. That generational chronicle, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period,” (Ms.) ran regularly in over fifty LGBT publications in North America and the UK. Many award-winning collections of Dykes were published in book form by an independent feminist press, and were translated into several languages.
Bechdel gained wider recognition for her work with the publication in 2006 of her groundbreaking graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Fun Home was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, and in a great moment for graphic narrative, was named Best Book of 2006 by Time Magazine. Time called the tightly architected investigation into her closeted bisexual father’s suicide “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.”
After setting aside Dykes to Watch Out For in 2008, Bechdel began devoting herself full-time to autobiographical work. A second graphic memoir, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in May 2012.
In her work, Bechdel is preoccupied with the overlap of the political and the personal spheres. Dykes to Watch Out For was an explicitly community-based and politically engaged project. But in her deeply intimate memoirs about her father’s life before the gay rights movement and her mother’s life before the women’s movement, she turns a microscopic lens on the internal mechanisms of oppression and liberation.
Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011. She has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. Her work is widely anthologized and translated.
Bechdel is the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship.
Shani Peters is a New York based artist from Lansing, MI working in video, collage, printmaking, and social engagement projects. Her work reflects interests in community building, collective action, activism histories, reinterpreted models of record keeping, and popular media subversion. Peters completed her BA at Michigan State University and her MFA at The City College of New York. She has exhibited and/or screened internationally, including group shows at the Bronx Museum of Art, The Contact Theatre (UK), Rush Arts Gallery, The Savannah College of Art & Design, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and the Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research. She has completed multiple residencies including programs hosted by MoCADetroit, The Laundromat Project, Project Row Houses and the Visual Arts Network, apexart to Seoul, S. Korea, the Lower East Side Printshop The Center for Book Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Counsel, as well as the Bronx Museum of Art's Artist in the Marketplace program. Peters has taught extensively throughout her Harlem community as a educator and program designer working in New York Public Schools, Harlem Textile Works, Casita Maria Arts Education Inc., The Laundromat Project, and as a social justice arts education adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York.
Artist's statement: I am interested in community building, collective action, activism histories, reinterpreted models of record keeping, and popular media subversion. My work considers social justice histories in the context of contemporary culture and living conditions, and re-presents them in manners consciously influenced by a hyper-mediated society. My perspective is heavily informed by my family and by the historical era in which I live. I was born into the “me” generation of the socially conservative 1980s by way of Black Power era parents who live by a mantra of social responsibility. I draw from the intersections of these influences to produce studio work that is dense with historical research, appropriated material (both highly recognizable and commonly overlooked), comedy, rhythm that tell new narratives of unseen victory. My public engagement practice seeks to share the imaginative rewards I receive from my more self-contained works with communities that are physically or emotionally close to me. Most recently I have been working in the direction of subverting the reach of popular media as a means to most meaningfully support these communities and bring forth new accounts, or records of existence. -Shani Peters
Ramiro Gomez was born in 1986 in San Bernardino, CA. His life-sized cardboard figures document the predominantly Hispanic workforce who "work tirelessly behind the scenes to maintain the beautiful imagery of these affluent area" around Los Angeles.
In 2013 Gomez had a solo exhibition at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, and was an artist-in-residence at the CSUF Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, CA. Also in 2013, Gomez exhibited at the AFL-CIO National Convention, where he was also a Guest Lecturer. He also gave lectures at Stanford University, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara from 2012-13. The City of West Hollywood, CA awarded Gomez with a residency in 2013, where he installed a mural in West Hollywood Park – a project titled The Caretakers, which remains on view. His work has been covered in the Washington Post, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, and CNN. Gomez lives and works in West Hollywood, CA.