Silver Eye Center for Photography

Through March 21
Various times

A new exhibition at Silver Eye Center for Photography is showcasing the work of its Fellowship 15 winners, Christopher Meerdo and Matthew Conboy.

Marking its 15th edition, the juried international photography competition recognizes both up-and-coming talent and established photographers from all corners of the globe including right here in Pittsburgh. Judged this year by Allison Grant, assistant curator at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Fellowship has awarded $62,000 in unrestricted grants and solo exhibitions to 20 emerging and mid-career photographers. Meerdo and Conboy were selected from 252 applications submitted from different 20 countries.

Approximately 31 works from the winning portfolios by International Award winner Christopher Meerdo (Chicago, IL) and Keystone Award winner Matthew Conboy  (Pittsburgh, PA) are on view at the South Side-based gallery through March 21st. Featured works include archival digital prints, HD videos and archival pigment prints

Visitors will encounter Meerdo’s sophisticated projects, Iceland and Cataphote, which explore concepts of paranoia, entropy and memorial. Using data processing, photography, installation and moving images, Meerdo creates multi-layered conceptual works that encourage viewers to “challenge their own ideas of objective awareness by altering the given landscape in dreamlike ways.” Along with his other-worldly landscapes and installations, Meerdo will also present his Anthology series, which includes photographs he recovered from used memory cards purchased on eBay. Using special recovery software, Meerdo restored the found photos and then transformed them into broken images pieced together with black bars and static.

The featured portfolio by Keystone Award winner Matthew Conboy showcases this Pittsburgh-based artist’s strengths as a visual storyteller and underscores the romance of underground youth culture. In his project, Objects in mirror are closer than they appear, Conboy documents Skatopia, an 88-acre skate park located in rural southeast Ohio that serves as a pilgrimage site for skaters from around the world, a refuge for young people seeking direction and an anarchist commune. Turning his lens away from the skaters, Conboy examines the narrative threads that link the unique individuals to each other, and to the surreal physical and cultural landscapes of southeast Ohio.

Born in 1981, Christopher Meerdo received his MFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his BFA in photography from Northern Michigan University. He currently teaches photography at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute. Meerdo was recently an artist in residence at the SIM Program in Reykjavik, Iceland and in 2013, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Born in 1977, Matthew Conboy is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University. He received his MFA in photography from Virginia Commonwealth University and his BS in architecture from The Catholic University of America. Raised in London, Conboy now resides in Pittsburgh where he is a photography instructor at Robert Morris University and a board member at the Mattress Factory.

Juror’s Commendations were also awarded to seven photographers for their exceptional portfolios: Rachel Cox (Lansing, MI); April Friges (Pittsburgh, PA); Shane Lavalette (Syracuse, NY); Vesna Pavlovic (Nashville, TN); Jiehao Su (Beijing, China); Ka-Man Tse (Brooklyn, NY); and Hyounsang Yoo (Chicago, IL).

Jennifer BaronEvents & Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.