The Cleveland Print Room executive director discusses “The Peer Show,” a nationally juried photography showcase. The exhibition opens with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 13 at Cleveland Print Room and remains on view through Oct. 25.

What can visitors look forward to from this year’s “The Peer Show”?

The photography in this exhibition celebrates the photographic medium and represents a selection of striking pieces with a fresh and unconventional slant by contemporary artists from around the country. You will find the alternative processes of photograms, photogravure with chine-collé, the chlorophyll process, collage and digital prints that are sliced, burned and splattered with nail polish, analog animation, as well as silver gelatin and digital prints.

“Twins in Repose” by Samantha Bias courtesy of Cleveland Print Room.

What can you tell us about this year’s jurors?

The jurors for this year’s show were Los Angeles photographer, Aline Smithson, who is the founder and editor-in-chief of an online photographic magazine, Lenscratch, as well as New York City’s Jacob Rhodes, co-founder and curator of Chelsea’s Field Projects Gallery. Working in tandem on two different coasts, they combed through hundreds of entries, finally deciding on a show consisting of 35 pieces that poignantly serve as a narrative of our times.

This is the fifth iteration of “The Peer Show.” How has it evolved or grown over the last five years?

Originally, “The Peer Show” served as a local showcase for photographers with jurors from Northeast Ohio. A few years back, we talked with juror Jacob Rhodes about the national juried shows that his NYC gallery holds a number of times each year. Our aim was to expand our call for art on a national level and we pushed to find jurors from outside the state to get local photographers’ work seen on a national level. This year, it is exciting to have work from contemporary photographers from 13 states shown on the walls of the Print Room, so Clevelanders can see what photographers are doing around the country. My hopes are to encourage local photographers to push themselves to think outside the boundaries of our established local scene. 

“Allegory of Touch” by Amanda D. King courtesy of Cleveland Print Room.

What programming surrounds this year’s show?

About half of the entries accepted in the show come from our local photographers, so we are excited to present the opportunity for them to talk about their work at a Peer Show Artist Talk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Cleveland Print Room gallery.

You and the Cleveland Print Room are also involved in “Made in Cleveland,” a show that opens Sept. 12 at Tri-C’s Gallery East and will highlight Cleveland’s unique non-profits and the artists who founded them. What can you share with us about your and CPR’s involvement there?

It is an honor to have my work shown in the Artists Archive of the Western Reserve’s “Made in Cleveland” satellite exhibition at Tri-C. This show includes a wide array of my past work, with a focus on miniature instant film photographs from my ongoing “Promised Land” series, which portrays homes of Cairo, Ill., my father’s ancestral home. I document some of the remaining homes – some abandoned, some not – unintentionally capturing the beauty of this small town that lost its luster long ago.

Additionally, my Brain Box sculpture from 2015 will also be on display. This deeply personal piece was created during the year after my father’s brain surgery and inspired by his rehabilitation. I created a piece that would serve as a personal memory matching game using his photographs and words that relate to growing up in Cairo, Ill. I dipped the photographs and words in wax to create an encaustic matching game for him to help his memory improve.

“Yellow House” by Shari Wilkins and John W. Carlson courtesy of Cleveland Print Room.

Lead image: “Mandarin Dreams” by Gabriela Cociuba courtesy of Cleveland Print Room.