Noelle Mason Solo Exhibition at the Baker Museum Naples
Florida Contemporary, an annual exhibition organized by Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, highlights work by notable visual artists active in Florida. Three artists are invited for its ninth iteration this season: Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Akiko Kotani and Noelle Mason. A wide array of compelling works by these artists with distinct backgrounds and artistic interests testify to the creative energies and intellectual vigor present in the state’s visual art world.
Currently on exhibition
October 21, 2021 – July 17, 2022
Located in the Newell Gallery of Hayes Hall
Born and raised in San Diego, California, multidisciplinary artist Noelle Mason (b. 1977) is associate professor of art at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Mason has long investigated the politics of surveillance, much like an archaeologist would excavate geological strata. From the Rodney King beating to the Columbine school shooting to al-Qaida beheading videos, she has extracted images of violence caught on surveillance tapes and presented them through various artistic interventions. Her mediums range from hand-embroidered handkerchiefs to cross-stitched cotton compositions and from handwoven tapestries to photographic images processed with 19th-century photo-based techniques, such as cyanotypes and collodions. Her process-oriented, handmade works — often quite time- and labor-intensive — represent her artistic redressing and examinations of images that garner visceral responses in our omnipresent surveillance culture.
Mason’s artworks included in the exhibition belong to an ongoing project, X-Ray Vision vs. Invisibility, which she has been working on for over a decade. For this project, she has collected and transformed surveillance images and videos that border patrol and vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexico border have shared widely on the internet, as well as satellite images. Growing up in San Diego, Mason’s father was a SWAT officer, while her mother, a citizenship teacher, occasionally accommodated undocumented immigrant families. Having lived through this seemingly contradictory upbringing, Mason has long been interested in confronting broad sociopolitical, cultural issues head-on. By carefully transforming images that dehumanize immigrants and refugees into images that evoke their humanity and pathos, Mason invites viewers to face and reflect on the disquieting images she has mined. The artist’s hope is that we will come to better understand the hidden assumptions that we all make. In an interview, Mason succinctly stated, “When you have to sit with a sensational image in a quiet space like a museum, it changes that image.”
Mason holds a BA in studio art from the University of California, Irvine, and an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has garnered many awards and residencies throughout her career, including the South Arts Southern Prize (2017) and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Artist Grant (2013), as well as a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (2004). Her artwork has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including Skyway at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota (2021), The World to Come at Harn Museum in Gainesville (2018) and Florida Prize at Orlando Museum of Art (2015).
Foto Relevance: PhotoLucida 2019-Through Different Lenses
In April of 2019 Noelle attended PhotoLucida portfolio review. She was fortunate to meet Geoffrey Koslov of Foto Relevance. Geoffrey has written a commentary on this years PhotoLucida and included Noelle's work. "Noelle Mason’s portfolio, “X-Ray Vision vs. Invisibility”, dramatically makes evident the powerful invasive capabilities of technology today. The technology used is x-ray, thermal, digital imaging and satellite imagery that Mason acquired from the US Border Patrol, Minutemen and commercial security sites. She has converted these images into cyanotypes, hand-woven wool Gobelin tapestry rugs (she calls “Ground Control”) and cotton “x-stitcheries”, or “Coyotaje”, as she refers to them. Her social documentary style of expression deals with undocumented immigrants trying to enter the United States illegally.
Mason’s cyanotype images invite the viewer into an unreal twilight-type zone we don’t want to believe exists. She refers to these as a “Backscatter Blueprint”. The images are obtained from a backscatter x-ray machine, a new form of digital imaging. The technology is similar to the full-body scans used at airports for passenger screening. Each blue-toned image is a skeleton-like outline of a truck in which we clearly see chalk-toned ghost like bodies hidden away. The figures are unnatural looking, not of this world, even though each figure represents a living, breathing person. The figures are standing, bending, sitting and lying. They are in tightly packed groups or alone in different sections of a truck. Some of the trucks are long, some smaller, but all arranged to hide the human cargo.
Mason uses other media to communicate with the viewer. In “Ground Control”, Mason created hand woven wool Gobelin style tapestry rugs that reproduce satellite images of the US/Mexico border locations where illegal crossing occur. A Gobelin style tapestry is a reference to the famous 15th century French dye and cloth makers. The rug tapestry gives the viewer a different way to engage with photography-based art by walking over it, just like the satellites passing overhead watching our own movements, not just theirs.
The satellite images contrast the US-Mexico border. Depicted are a city of 100,000, on the US-Mexico border, Mexicali/Calexico, through which thousands of people cross back and forth between countries each day. The rug image contrasts the agricultural richness on the US side with the much more barren Mexican side. It engages the viewer to think about what they are looking at, and why different zones on the rug are one color or another, and to ask - why this area? What is special, important or happening in this location that Noelle Mason look the time and energy to seek out publicly available information and present it to us in this format?
Mason also created cotton x-stitcheries she calls “Coyotaje”. The word “Coyotaje” is a reference to the operators that smuggle people illegally across the US-Mexico border. An “x-stitch” is a type of stitching pattern. Mason says: “Coyotaje is a series of cotton x-stitcheries that depict x-rays and infrared images of undocumented immigrants crossing the US/Mexico border illegally. Using a computer program the digital files were translated into counted x-stitch maps with each stitch representing a single pixel of the original image. These are strong political statements, permanently presented, forcing us to see and reconcile what we and our government actions have become.
Noelle Mason Showing with Fountain of Pythons at Satellite Fair
I will be exhibiting at Satellite Fair during Art Miami December 6-9, 2018 with the photography collective Fountain of Pythons.
Noelle Mason Wins Southern Prize for Contemporary Art
Atlanta – At an awards ceremony on April 24, 2017, South Arts distributed $80,000 to nine visual artists as the first recipients of their Southern Prize and State Fellowships program. Noelle Mason of Tampa received the Southern Prize award of $25,000 and a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences as well as the $5,000 South Arts Florida Fellowship. Coulter Fussell of Water Valley, Mississippi was named finalist for the Southern Prize, and received a $10,000 award plus the $5,000 South Arts Mississippi Fellowship. Seven other artists each received State Fellowship awards of $5,000: Pete Schulte of Alabama, Masud Olufani of Georgia, Becky Alley of Kentucky, Joey Slaughter of Louisiana, Stephanie J. Woods of North Carolina, Herb Parker of South Carolina, and Georgann DeMille of Tennessee.
The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. From January through March 2017, over 850 visual artists submitted work for consideration, and a panel of jurors reviewed each application with the sole criterion of artistic excellence to determine the nine State Fellows. A second panel of jurors reviewed the State Fellows to determine the two Southern Prize awardees.
Mason, an associate professor of sculpture and extended media at the University of South Florida, works in multiple mediums. She manipulates appropriated images, objects, and contexts to investigate and expose the seductiveness of power. Through sculpture, performance and craft, her art examines the way mediation affects our response to traumatic events such as the Rodney King beating, the Columbine shootings, and war.
Fussell is owner of YaloRUN Textiles, a craft store and experimental textile studio in Water Valley, Mississippi. As an artist, she absorbed the process of quilting by watching her mother, a master quilter, who encouraged quilting with freedom and abandon while still paying attention to order of operations and functionality. Fussell earned a BFA from the University of Mississippi and has had her work featured in The New York Times and ART PAPERS.
“We are honored to support each of these artists,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “From the traditions of quilt-making to astonishing contemporary installations, our Southern Prize and State Fellowship winners represent a diverse roster of talent, background, and style.”
The State Fellowship juror panel included Erin Gilbert, independent curator from Chicago; Mark Scala, Curator with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR; Jan Davidson, retired director of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC; and Gia Hamilton, director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. The Southern Prize panel of jurors included Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville; Dominique Nahas, independent curator and critic in Brooklyn; and Monica Moses, Editor in Chief of American Craft in Minneapolis.
Visual artists living in South Arts’ nine-state region and producing crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed media work were eligible to apply. The awards were presented to the artists as unrestricted funds.
The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are supported by Alabama State Council on the Arts, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Joanne Calhoun, Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc., Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Cyberwoven, Evans General Contractors, Arnold and Fran Gellman, Georgia Council for the Arts, Les Hamlett, Kentucky Arts Council, J. Martin Lett, Louisiana Division of the Arts, CJ Lyons’ Buy a Book, Make a Difference, MailChimp, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council, Scott and Terry Peterson, Michael Quinlan and Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, South Carolina Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Pat and Susie VanHuss, and powered by The Hambidge Center.
Noelle Mason Wins Florida Prize for Contemporary Art
– Florida Prize in Contemporary Art 2016
Orlando Museum of Art
May 13 – August 28, 2016
The Florida Prize in Contemporary Art is an initiative of the Orlando Museum of Art that brings a new level of recognition to the State’s most progressive artists.Now in its third year, the 2016 exhibition will present ten outstanding artists, with one selected to receive the prize. These artists work in a range of media and artistic practices, often in new and unexpected ways. The challenging nature of their work will offer Museum visitors insight into the complex and exciting world of contemporary art in Florida.
Artists include: Anthea Behm, Gainesville; Adler Guerrier, Miami; María Martínez-Cañas, Miami; Noelle Mason, Tampa; Ernesto Oroza, Aventura; Matt Roberts, Deland; Dawn Roe, Winter Park; Kyle Trowbridge, Coral Gables; Michael Vasquez, Miami; and Sergio Vega, Gainesville.
Noelle Mason receives Santo Foundation Grant
The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2015 Individual Artist Awards. We send our sincere gratitude and respect to each artist who took the time and energy to apply for our 7th Anniversary Call for Entry. After diligent review of every portfolio submission by Distinguished Juror Xandra Eden, the following exceptional artists have been selected; Three to receive the top honors and $5,000 each, and five artists selected to each receive $1,000. All awards are to be used at the artist’s discretion.
$5,000 Award Winners
$1,000 Award Winners
Noelle Mason receives Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant
Congratulations to Assistant Professor Noelle Mason, who has received a prestigious 2012 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors.
Established in 1993, the Foundation awards $25,000 to twenty-five artists through a nomination process. Nominators from across the country are invited to recommend artists, at any stage in their career, who are currently under-recognized for their creative achievements, and whose practice would significantly benefit from the grant.
In an anonymous process, a jury panel then selects the twenty-five award winners. Nominators and jurors include prominent visual artists, curators, and art educators who are dedicated to supporting artists. The Foundation’s nominators are kept confidential.
I.E. Interview at UICA
BLUE SKY/BLACK DEATH
Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present BLUE SKIES/BLACK DEATH; an exhibition of new work by Noelle Mason investigating imaging as a document for corporeal experience of space and time by way of three different photographic methods: pigment print, gobelin tapestry, and photogravure. The exhibition title itself references the engagement of body, time and space as the term “blue skies/black death” (originating from the parachute infantry motto "Mors Ab Alto" in Latin, or “death from above") is familiar to skydivers as a greeting/farewell, and to indicate a fatality during a skydive.
The photographic series Decision Altitude returns to the foundational beginnings of photographic representation: the pinhole camera. The title refers both to the altitude at which a skydiver must begin emergency procedures and the photographer’s decisive moment described by Henri Cartier-Bresson. His highly influential text came in response to the advancement in negative film processes and faster lenses. There was suddenly a means to capture what had previously eluded the human eye; a moment of clarity only the camera could harness and make static. Most modern skydiving photography stops time through rapid shutter speed. By comparison, the lens-less pinhole camera demands a three second exposure which allows the film to document 500 feet of free-fall at speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour. Mason uses the primitive pinhole camera to depict the incomprehensible space and compression of time between jumping out of a plane and saving your own life. In this space the view of earth from above is a combination of aerodynamics and adrenaline.
In contrast to this the work Ground Control examines the representation of the earth from space through 'remote sensing.' Informed by the unique socio-political climate of the Southern California border with Mexico and the imaging technologies used to uphold it, Ground Control presents a set of hand woven rugs that depict images of places of conflict as seen by satellite, questioning the cartographic claim that reality can be modeled in ways that communicates spatial information effectively.
Incident Report is a set of three photogravures, a rarely used and laborious printmaking technique, with letter-pressed text. The result is a ghostly black and white image more reminiscent of a graphite drawing than a photograph. The text documents three incident reports of skydiving fatalities that are transposed in a stoic tone of the moment-by-moment happenings of each incident. The attention to detail in the two components of Incident Report is breathtaking, and in an odd paradox, the additional mechanized detachment from both the original photographic film (via the photogravure) and the original moment of incident (via an official record of incident) creates a documentary-style poetic requiem.
Between Earth and Sky
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tracy Midulla Reller
Between Earth and Sky
exhibition by the Tampa photography collective.
Tampa- Opening reception Friday, October 19, 2012 from 7-10pm :: Between Earth and Sky is the first exhibition by the Tampa photography collective comprised of Wendy Babcox, Jeremy Chandler, Adam Ekberg, Becky Flanders, Noelle Mason, Forrest MacDonald, Chris Otten, Kym O’Donnell and James Reiman. For the past year, the group has gathered monthly at the Tempus Projects space to share and discuss new work. The goal of the collective is to be a support system for each member’s individual art practice, while serving as a relaxed place to fellowship with peers. The group also strives to engage the local creative community through exhibitions and talks.
This exhibition remains on display throughout November 9, with gallery hours available by appointment. Contact Tracy Midulla Reller at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule or call 813.340.9056. Tempus Projects is located at 5132 N. Florida Ave. Tampa FL 33603
TEMPUS PROJECTS, winner of Creative Loafing’s 2012 Best of the Bay award for Best Art Gallery, is an artist-run project space, housed in a converted garage on the back lot of a commercial property, in the South Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. TEMPUS PROJECTS is dedicated to nurturing both established and emerging local, national and international artists via exhibitions and events. The project promotes artists working in all media and organizes exhibitions that engage the local community through the visual arts. Tempus is also available for private meeting, events and parties. Learn more at www.tempus-projects.c
I will be appearing in the December 2009 issue of Chicago Social Magazine along side close friends Justin Cooper and Adam Ekberg. You can view the article at CS Magazine you will find me on page 70.
Only Blue Dear Lonely American
Only Blue Dear Lonely American
March 7 to March 29th Alagon Gallery, Opening 6pm Friday March 7th
In September 2007 Benjamin Bellas, Justin Cooper, Stuart Keeler, Clinton King, Noelle Mason, Ross Moreno and Magdalen Wong were artists in residence at 1a space, Hong Kong. The subsequent exhibition was funded in part by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, The Illinois Arts Council and private donors. Only Blue Dear Lonely American is an attempt to translate these Artists' experience. The original press release is as follows:
Namely, seven independent artist network work on international, explores the possible heaven and the inconceivable truth subject. The Only Blue Dear Lonely American illusion revealed which in theirs work surveys them by to hug performative, the experimental nature and the component extemporaneously is sceptical to society's Utopist ideal reality. The medium for example performance, the photography, the video recording and the sound use in individual who expresses the negotiations culture custom explicitly and the social history. Although their work discipline, they origin from the carving perspective. Namely. The faintly recognizable concept distilled entered the physical demonstration. The work adopts the form to be equally various frequently acts the witchcraft drum to wait for likely does not exist daughter in American girl position; From package design sound constitution to honest magic skill. Through respective esthetic and the conceptive strategy, the place reality is transformed indulgently, and was explained. Finally, the object and the experience cannot separate.
IRRATIONAL EXHIBITS 6
Track 16 Gallery and Deborah Oliver present
IRRATIONAL EXHIBITS 6
Curated by Deborah Oliver
Saturday, November 3, 2007, 8:00 PM
17 Artists, One Night Only
Pre-payment by credit card accepted
Returning to Track 16 Gallery for the sixth straight year is Irrational Exhibits, the experimental performance /installation show produced and curated by Deborah Oliver.
Irrational Exhibits is a one night only, once a year event that showcases the latest works and evolving forms of performance art and installation.
This year, a daring crop of artists will explore and confront the dangerous and disturbing landscape of the 21st century: an environment in which one treads the shifting terrain of catastrophe with delusions of safety, and where human relationships are subject to technological intervention and desensitizing media overload.
Through interactive installations, visceral performances, and kinetic media, the artists will examine the tenuous balance of power in personal, social, political and cultural environments. The audience will be free to roam and engage with a wide variety of works that range from eccentrically playful game referencing works to those that portray events of unnerving pathos.
Gabriela Arreola, Benjamin Bellas & Justin Cooper, Brian Black & Ryan Bulis, Anne Bray & Deborah Oliver & Janice Gomez, Amanda Browder & Stuart Keeler, David Burns, Kent Anderson Butler & Andrew Buehler, Mariel Carranza, Kristina Faragher & Curt LeMieux, Tim Folland, Dave Ghilarducci, Cathalijne Kapteyn & Anastasia Yumeko Hill & Sean Best, Noelle Mason, Helia Rabie, Eusebio Travis Sevilla, Steve Shoffner, and Elizabeth Watkins.
For more information on the artists and event, please visit our web site at http://www.track16.com.
ART EXHIBITION 'CONCERNING TOMORROW' OPENS SEPT 14TH
Sponsored by Harold Arts
"Concerning tomorrow…," an exhibition curated by Chicago artist Jason Lazarus, features an ambitious roster of 27 artists wrestling with the provocative exhibition title, "Concerning tomorrow…"
Working in a variety of media, the participating artists have created highly evocative, culturally aware, and bravely imaginative pieces. The result is a collection of work that directly involves the viewer in a complex dialogue about the notion of 'tomorrow,' while provoking audiences to consider their own tomorrows, real or imagined, without limit.
The exhibition opens on September 14th, 5-10pm at 303 W. Erie (basement gallery)
Harold Arts, a non profit arts organization based in Chicago, embarks with "Concerning tomorrow…" to advance recognition of its greater mission: to cultivate creative opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists and musicians through artist residencies, gallery showings, and concerts within the Chicago area. Learn more at HaroldArts.org.
Participating artists include:
Chicago Reader "Critics Choice"
Ground Control by Noelle Mason, Jose Antonio Flores, and Jonathan Samaniego
Ground Control (detail) by Noelle Mason, Jose Antonio Flores, and Jonathan Samaniego; click to enlarge
Critic's Choice: Echelon: Who Is Watching You? This show about surveillance opened the day before the U.S. House of Representatives approved expanded information-gathering powers for the executive branch. Among the sculptures, photos, drawings, and other works on exhibit is a beautiful, disturbing rug conceived by local artist Noelle Mason and woven by Mexican artists Jose Antonio Flores and Jonathan Samaniego. Made of red and green wool, Ground Control takes its dynamic pattern from a map of the U.S./Mexican border generated by Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer technology. The red denotes the patchwork of cultivated agricultural areas, most clustered in this country, while the green, mostly on the other side of the border, indicates arid, undeveloped land. Though the rug is lush, it depicts the site of much conflict and suffering based on economic inequality (Mason paid the two weavers the amount of money it would take for a Mexican family of four to cross the border illegally). This challenging work questions the boundaries between the aesthetic and the utilitarian, the decorative and the subversive. Another standout is a witty, engaging installation by Annette Barbier and Drew Browning in which the viewer is tracked by a motion-sensing camera while reading the titles of “suspicious” books projected on the floor. Among the other artists in the show are Elvia Rodriguez-Ochoa, Patrick Lichty, Gretel Garcia, and Finishing School. Through 9/1: Sat noon-5 PM or by appointment, Polvo, 1458 W. 18th, 773-344-1940. —Janina Ciezadlo