Whitney Hale


College: Fine Arts

Explore Life's Journey Through Surreal Photography at Tuska

Published: Jan 15, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 15, 2014) — A new exhibition at University of Kentucky's Tuska Center for Contemporary Art uses landscape photography to explore the way one's life path can change. Deborah Orloff's "Holzwege" runs through Feb. 14, at the Tuska. The exhibition is free and open to the public.


"Holzwege," the German word for wood-path, refers to paths in the forest that lead nowhere. Thus the concept of a wood-path can be seen as a metaphor for life's uncertainty.


"There are points in our lives when we are focused; it is as if we are on a clear path toward our goals. Other times, we feel unsure of where we are heading, or a chosen course ends unexpectedly, and we must suddenly reevaluate our direction," Orloff said.


Through "Holzwege," Orloff explores these turning points by creating ambiguous landscapes through the layering of multiple photographs. With digital combinations, she creates surreal, new spaces where one photograph disappears into the next. These inverted landscapes function as metaphors for the universal experience we inevitably all have, when our lives suddenly change. Just when you think you know where you're going, unexpected circumstances dictate a change in plans.


Ultimately, Orloff's images are meant to be ethereal and optimistic, conveying the sense of wonder that exists when we open ourselves up to new possibilities and realize that change can be fortuitous. While the word holzwege suggests a dead-end, the connotation is not necessarily negative. Rather, the inability to move forward presents opportunities for exploration, transformation and previously unimagined destinies.


Originally from New York City, Orloff moved to Ohio in 1994 to accept a teaching position at the University of Toledo. She is currently a tenured professor of art and runs the photography area within New Media in the Department of Art. She received her MFA in art media studies from Syracuse University and her bachelor's degree from Clark University.


Although Orloff's primary medium is photography, she has also worked in video and installation. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions at national and international venues which include: the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Toyohashi City Museum of Art & History in Japan; the Arts Center Gallery at EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia; and the Royal Scottish Academy Galleries in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been the recipient of dozens of grants and awards, including last year's Faculty Excellence Award, and regularly gives public lectures about her photo-based art.


Part of the UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts, the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art is on the first floor of the UK Fine Arts Building, located on Rose Street. The gallery, named for late UK faculty member and artist John Regis Tuska, is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art of regional and national importance.


The exhibit has limited hours this week from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday and Friday. Regular gallery hours for the spring 2014 semester will begin next week and are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; the Tuska will be closed MLK Day.


A closing reception with Orloff will be held for the exhibit 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13.


For more information on "Holzwege," contact the UK School of Art and Visual Studies  at 859-257-8151.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

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