Group Photography Exhibition & Reception

MPS Art Therapy alumni Lauren Chester (Class of 2011) and Jenna Wainstock (Class of 2013) and photographer Kathy Shorr collaborated on a program at GMHC this past year.

There will be an opening reception on Thursday, January 30 at 6pm at the Michael Mut Project Space (97 Avenue C, NYC). Work will be on exhibition through February 15.

Info and press release below:

“X-PRESSIONZ: An Exhibit Without Need to Inhibit”

Michael Mut Project Space, Group Photography Show Explores the Healing Power of Self-Expression

New York, NY—Five local artists challenged stereotypes with smartphones.  Their photographs explore themes of sexuality, religion, race and community through a lens that is both intimate and accessible.  The show opens January 30th, at Michael Mut Gallery in the East Village.

“X-PRESSIONZ” features images created during a phototherapy and education pilot entitled “Beyond the Selfie.”  Art Therapists Lauren Chester and Jenna Wainstock, and photo educator Kathy Shorr supported artists to use available technology as a medium for self-expression and artistic development.  The artists are also participants of Outstanding Beautiful Brothers at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which utilizes a holistic approach in its prevention program targeted toward young black gay and bisexual men—including art therapy, community building and support groups.

The group utilized solely mobile phones and iPads for shooting and editing images.  “We planned this with the observation that almost everyone seems to have access to a cell phone or digital camera,” said Lauren.  “Combining these technological advances with social media, it seems many of us can develop a habit of mindlessly documenting and sharing the most personal moments of our lives with people we don’t really know.  I felt there was something meaningful about this process that actually says a lot about relationships, self-perception, and the need to communicate.”

One of the goals of “Beyond the Selfie” is to provide photographers with the opportunity to slow down, and to use tools they are already comfortable with to take a second look at their lives, or to answer a question about who they are.  Throughout the group photographers gain insight from the narratives they see coming from their own images.  Members benefit from developing self-understanding, and also from gaining control of which stories they tell, especially to an audience that may see them through a stereotyped lens.  “Too often these young men feel invisible in their communities because of their race and sexuality,” said Jeremy Ortman, LMHC, Assistant Director of Mental Health Services at GMHC.

The group provides clear technical training in photography that helps the artists’ eyes develop and further supports their ability to capture the images they see.  Many of the photographers featured in this show had no formal training in photography, but used skills learned during the group to develop a solid collection of images that speak clearly the messages they hoped to convey.

Michael Mut Project Space is located in the East Village/L.E.S. of Manhattan. The space is utilized as a platform for contemplation on current events and where the LoveYourselfProject.org was formed.

“X-PRESSIONZ” is sponsored in part by the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) Program in Art Therapy at School of Visual Arts, and in part by GMHC.  For more information about the Michael Mut Project Space, School of Visual Arts and GMHC, please visit www.mmprojectspace.com,www.sva.edu and www.gmhc.org.

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