Ray Ewing '12

My education at MECA laid the groundworks for my approach to my studio practice as an image-maker first.

Describe a body of work that you have worked on recently. Since I left my resort-town island home of Martha’s Vineyard, my work has been about exploring my relationship with that place. Obsessing over my connection to Martha’s Vineyard has led to in-depth investigations of tourism, leisure, and simulated beauty. My current project fauxasis explores longing and land through self-portraiture, sculpture and performance in real and simulated environments.

The search for strong devices to communicate my simultaneous desire and disdain for leisure environments has led me to the adoption of the desert oasis as a visual metaphor. An oasis, like an island, is a space of illusion and seduction that operates by means of elemental contrast. The confluence of sand and water in such places triggers my sentiment for the beach. This is a physical reaction of pleasure as well as childhood memory. Thus, the pure blue of ocean and sky as well as the peachy-yellow glow of sand in blazing sun, have come to dominate my new images as a transposition of the symbols of the beach onto my new desert surroundings in New Mexico.

Interruptions in the representation of space, the appearance of scale, and adherence to photographic description work to erode the ability of the images to document photographically and improve their ability to interpret visually.

What’s your background? What made you chose to go into your current field of photography? I was lucky to attend public high school on Martha’s Vineyard which has a very strong arts program. There I was very strongly influenced by the two photography teachers, Chris Baer and Paul Brissette. My experiences in these classes in high school, in the darkroom at Featherstone Center for The Arts, and in working as a photojournalist for The Martha’s Vineyard Gazette led me pursue photography in college.

How has your education at MECA shaped you as an artist? My education at MECA laid the groundworks for my approach to my studio practice as an image-maker first. Since then I have come to approach my work from the standpoint of the static image whether I am making a sculpture, a land art piece, a video piece, an installation piece or a piece of performance.

What inspires you? I am inspired by intersections of physical and emotional borders. I am interested in how longing and desire can be expressed in real, simulated, imagined and represented spaces.

What kind of career have you pursued after graduation? I am currently in the final year of an MFA program in studio arts at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I will be pursuing a career in teaching at the college level as well as an active studio practice.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? “It’s only an island if you look at it from the water.” ~Chief Brody, JAWS

What else are you interested in? My largest interest not directly related to my studio practice is in the history of and theory related to popular American Cinema.

View Ray’s website.