Antone Dolezal’s work has been exhibited widely and is held in notable public collections including the Museum of Modern Art Library (New York), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), New Mexico Museum of Art (Santa Fe) and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City). His photographs have been published with GEO, National Public Radio, Oxford American, Photo District News and he has written numerous articles on the topic of contemporary photography and the photobook for Ahorn, Album, Magazin für Fotografie, Fototazo, Paper Journal and photo-eye Magazine.
Recent major exhibitions have taken place at 555 Gallery (Boston), Art Space - Kansas City Art Institute (Kansas City), Candela Gallery (Richmond), Filter Space (Chicago), GuatePhoto International Photography Festival (Guatemala), photo-eye Books + Prints (Santa Fe), WorkSpace Gallery (Lincoln) and Webber Represents (London).
Antone received a BFA from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and is currently the Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Fellow at Syracuse University. He is expected to receive an MFA in Art Photography in May 2018.
Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit
2015 - ongoing
Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit unearths a world of practitioners embracing religious beliefs formed by a complex tension between the scientific and the divine. Taking place in the deserts of California and Nevada – a region mythologized as a gateway to the cosmos – this work offers a constellation of photographs woven from the surreal and the rational and blends folklore of the American West alongside elements of science fiction cinema and new religious mythologies. Known as a haven for secret government programs, passing transients and utopian communities, this southwestern expanse composes a backdrop for a strange realm that embodies the aspirations and uncertainties of a changing society.
These photographs are combined with documents and images constructed from my own interventions in government archives, as well as original manuscripts and texts tracing the origins of new esoteric religious movements. By favoring a layered narrative, this work traces varying fragments that influence the evolution of modern-day myth, illuminating the boundaries of belief and offering a meditation into the ideologies meant to eclipse the cycle of conventional life.
Q&A: SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
Why Syracuse University?
After receiving a BFA from the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico I made a decision that if I could find success as a working artist, then I would invest the time to go to graduate school. I spent my 20s focusing on developing my creative vision and knowledge of photographic theory and as I grew as an artist, it was becoming clear that my sensibilities were influenced with a broader contemporary dialogue, so moving from Santa Fe to a place that was close to NYC and with easy access to Europe was a priority. Syracuse is 4 hours away from the city and as I’m writing this, my wife and I are currently planning our next trip there see Natalie Krick’s Aperture exhibition, Stephen Shore’s MoMA retrospective and Angel’s in America on Broadway.
When I interviewed at SU, the faculty made it clear they were excited to work with me and really made an effort to convey it. I had been visiting different programs for 2 years prior to attending SU and I didn’t have this experience anywhere else. Funding was also a large part of the factor. I received the Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Fellowship, which includes a monthly stipend and full tuition scholarship for 3 years.
In addition to working with a supportive faculty, graduate students at SU have an opportunity to work closely with Light Work. I have met so many artists whose work I admire coming through the Light Work doors, whether through the artist-in-residence program or just to use the digital facilities. As a graduate student, I have 24-hour access to the digital lab and have become somewhat of a permanent fixture!
How has your experience at Syracuse University informed or shaped Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit?
This project stems from a series of personal experience while living in New Mexico and I was already involved in the research prior to entering graduate school. Its initial iteration had a traditional photo narrative approach and the faculty at SU was adamant on pushing me to experiment and take chances with how I was utilizing the medium. The heart of Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit is photographs, but I also incorporate elements of text, the archive, sound and sculpture in the installation.
Outside of faculty support, I have formed a close-knit group of peers amongst a few of the other MFA candidates and we regularly get together and hash out ideas and frustrations. I respect and trust their opinions and encourage anyone entering grad school to consider the caliber and seriousness of the students who are already in the program. This support network was essential for surviving the last 3 years.
What kind of exhibition or arts-related job opportunities exist in the area for current students and recent graduates?
There seems to be a lot of editorial work available, especially in NYC. I have worked closely with and have been an assist for Doug DuBois the last few years for different assignments including work for the New York Times and New Yorker and we share photo credits for a commission that took the form of a 2-week road trip about the 2016 election for GEO. Since this experience, I occasionally get offers to do my own editorial assignments for various magazines. For anyone interested in editorial work, Syracuse isn’t a bad place to be.
What’s the most memorable piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor?
Photography isn’t enough.
Photography is an incredibly powerful visual language. As an artist, I’m in tune with how photography can be suggestive… with how the medium can fragment narratives and punctuate metaphor, but it isn’t always the best medium to convey every idea or concept. My process has expanded significantly over the last few years, and I am prone to experiment quite a bit with not only how photographs function, but also with the intersection of photography and other media.
I consider my practice to be my life’s work and view this work as a reflection on how I continue to grow and evolve as both an individual. My impulse to experiment with different media is an effort to find challenge and active engagement with how I orient my ideas and perspective in context to the broader world. Of course there is a lot of failure involved, but that’s a natural part of the process.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking to attend Syracuse University?
I truly believe SU is one of the most over-looked programs. We have 4 full-time faculty, Susannah Sayler, Doug DuBois, Laura Heyman and Yasser Aggour… all of whom bring very different perspectives to student work. It’s an immersive experience, be prepared to be challenged, to hear a lot of opinions regarding your practice and to spend every waking hour of every day dedicated to making the work over the next 3 years.
Where can we keep up with your photo department online?