Exhibition Pick: Meg Turner

Megan Koza Young visits Meg Turner’s current exhibition at Scott Edwards Gallery, which documents the present with historic photographic processes.

Meg Turner, Vanessa, 2015. Photogravure on Yuku-Shi Japanese Paper. Courtesy the artist and Scott Edwards Gallery, New Orleans.

Meg Turner
Scott Edwards Gallery
2109 Decatur Street
February 18 - April 10, 2016

“Tuff Enuff,” Meg Turner’s current exhibition of large scale photogravure prints at Scott Edwards Gallery, is a dream-like exploration of the relationships we build based on circumstance, geography, and need. All taken from tintype portraits of people inhabiting Turner’s personal orbit, her “chosen family,” these works evoke a strong sense of wistfulness, capturing the ethos of a generation that has embraced their ability to change.

What makes the images most intriguing, however, is the way in which Turner plays with the history of photography, the conventions of portraiture, and notions of identity. Each photograph exists in the liminal space between the historical processes that Turner uses—the tintype and the photogravure—and the contemporary fluidity of gender constructs. Turner’s reliance on soft focus heightens the sense of nostalgia in each work, for times past and lost moments, even though the photographs were all taken recently. The hard tonal contrasts Turner favors push against any sense of sentimentality creating a beautiful tension that again speaks to the space in between the past and the present: Who we were and who we are.

Turner notes in her artist statement that this collection of works is a collaborative project; the locations and backdrops are chosen together, by both photographer and subject. The large size of the photographs (each is printed at roughly 26 by 20 inches) allows viewers to see the images as much more than a family photo album–although that is clearly what they are. We are asked to stand back, view the works, and contemplate the mutability of our own personal histories and identities.