April 21, 2015

UAB’s Jared Ragland chosen as Magic City Art Connection’s 2015 Emerging Artist

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jared ragland wJared Ragland by Jerry SiegelPhotographer Jared Ragland has been selected as the 2015 Magic City Art Connection Emerging Artist.

Ragland is the visual media and outreach coordinator for the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History, where he also teaches photography.

The contemporary art festival set in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park awards this honor annually to a talented Birmingham artist. The award was established to spotlight, support and present new artists of great artistic potential and integrity to the festival’s sponsors, patrons and public.

Ragland joins a distinguished list of 18 other talented Birmingham artists who have been awarded this honor. In addition to being prominently featured at the 32nd annual contemporary art festival happening April 24-26, Ragland will receive a $350 cash award, tickets to some of MCAC’s big events like Art Bash and Corks & Chefs, and recognition at MCAC’s Friday Night Applause Awards dinner. As part of this honor, the festival has commissioned a limited edition print to be placed with major sponsors and other important contributors and collectors.

Over the last 18 years of this locally awarded honor, photographers have received this award only twice. In 2015, “we look forward to showcasing a talented local artist and educator whose artistic vision has excelled in this dynamic, impactful and ever-changing artist medium,” said MCAC co-director Alex Kunzman. Learn more about Ragland and see images of his most recent work on the MCAC’s Emerging Artist page or on his website, jaredragland.com.

A native of Birmingham, Ragland attended LaGrange College in Georgia before pursuing his MFA in photography at Tulane University in Louisiana. After eight years of living in Washington, D.C., where he served as photo editor for the White House under both the Bush and Obama presidencies, he returned home. His work is imbued with his personal history and identity of place, and many Southern viewers will find something recognizable in his photography.

In his forthcoming book “Everything is Going to Be All Right,” Ragland employs both traditional black and white photography as well as appropriated imagery that was digitally sourced to produce a meditation on Walker Percy’s 1961 novel “The Moviegoer,” set in New Orleans. Catherine Wilkins, Ph.D., wrote the MCAC essay on Ragland’s work.

“Similarly, much of the work of photographer Jared Ragland is rooted in his lifelong exposure to the landscapes, people, aesthetics and storytelling traditions of this part of the country,” Wilkins wrote.

“A large portion of Ragland’s other work likewise incorporates images from online archives, electronic photographic databases and Google image searches. This is yet another way that Jared challenges traditional notions of authorship and artist agency: by borrowing images from the past and combining them with his own photographic production. The result is a body of work that, like Birmingham itself, has deep historical connections yet is simultaneously cutting-edge and contemporary.”

Past MCAC Emerging Artists include UAB alumni Kristin Skees, photography, in 2011; John Fields, painting, in 2007; Clayton Colvin, mixed media, in 2006; and Joel Seah, painting and mixed media, in 2001.

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