The Importance of Being Here
works by Phil Moody
Center for the Arts | Dalton Gallery
121 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC
Sept. 11 - Oct. 25, 2020
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In this photodocumentary series, Phil Moody explores moments in time across the state of South Carolina through Inauguration Day/January 20, Christmas parades, and Rock Hill at night.
Photographs made in South Carolina
There are three bodies of work in this exhibition. They have been made locally, in Rock Hill, in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District, and – for the Christmas parades - throughout the state. While the bodies of work are distinct in themselves, they share an approach that is straightforward, with little use of artistic effect. They examine the everyday. They celebrate the ‘ordinary.’ Ever since high school, when I studied Dutch 17th century art, I have been interested in beauty and elegance found within everyday life.
It is a common expectation (and fallacy) among photographers that ‘elsewhere’ is more worthy of exploration and that the more exotic the location the richer the pictorial rewards. While it is certainly true that our senses are sharpened (we are ‘more inspired’) when we are in unfamiliar terrain, and we seem to find more subject matter with which to respond, in truth the results are more commonly superficial. Everyday surroundings may seem to be far more of a challenge in producing imagery of substance. My approach has been to see myself as a visitor in an untraveled land.
Click the Virtual Gallery image below to visit The Importance of Being Here online gallery.
website | https://www.philmoodyphotography.net
‘The Importance of Being Here’ includes 3 bodies of work that relate to Rock Hill, SC 5th Congressional District, and South Carolina statewide.
1. All Night, All Year: Rock Hill, South Carolina 2019
This project began early January 2019. Each night (and early morning) I have been photographing throughout Rock Hill. Inspired by 2 pictures I made while continuing another project, I decided to creatively challenge myself in making new work from my everyday surroundings. In addition to the obvious transformation that takes place when ordinary subject matter has a completely different light-source, the peaceful state that descends on what might be regarded as an ordinary Southern town provides a rich ambience.
2. January 20
In celebration of the election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States, I drove an unplanned route through the Upper Piedmont in order to make pictures of ordinary life throughout January 20, 2009. Afterwards I realized I had circumnavigated SC 5th Congressional District. I have continued the practice each year since. The ‘rules’ of this project are simple, 1. I am limited to the 24 hours of January 20, and 2. I stay within 5th Congressional District (which has been redrawn since I began in 2009). Mostly this comprises pictures made by chance, with whatever catches my eye. However, in the past 2 years I have begun to include some arranged portraits. In total the project is intended to stand as a visual description of the immediate region.
3. There Will Be Only One Santa: South Carolina Christmas Parades
In the past 6 years I have turned up at as many parades as I can manage. My aim is eventually to represent every parade in the state with at least one picture. Currently I think I am halfway through this project, with over 60 parades photographed. The title is one of the few rules any of the towns imposes.
These 3 projects are structurally different but combine to provide a visual narrative of the state. Conceptually they share a style that is delicately balanced between documentary and visual poetry. Philosophically they represent a belief in the value of celebrating the ‘ordinary’, which to me contains something very valuable – that in digging deep into what is around us we find ‘meaning’.
Phil Moody was born in Berwick-on-Tweed on the border of Scotland and England, and currently resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In describing his work the artist says, "My work has evolved from a documentary stance, yet is still motivated by the histories of ordinary working people, with a long-held interest in the textile industry in this region of South Carolina. More recent work is made using 'photograms' mixed with 'straight' photography." The artist is represented in both public and private collections including Kodak Pharmaceuticals, Bank of America, Alabama Light & Power Co., and B.F. Goodrich.
Moody's work has been included in more than 80 group exhibitions in the U.S., England, Scotland, and Poland, and he has done 37 one-man exhibitions since 1985. He has received grants from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science Council, the Scottish Arts Council, the Hope-Scott Foundation (Scotland), Winthrop and the Arts Council of York County. Moody's artwork also appears in the collections of Bank of America, B.F. Goodrich, S.C. State Art Collection, Scottish Arts Council, Kodak Pharmaceuticals, North Philadelphia HealthCare, Midlands Technical College, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and Clemson University, among others.
Moody has won a number of awards in his career, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching South Carolina Professor of the Year Award (1997), the Winthrop University Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching (1996), and the Winthrop University Outstanding Junior Professor Award (1990). He also was the recipient of an S.C. Arts Commission Fellowship in 2004.
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