Artist Lecture Jennifer Garza-Cuen

Jennifer Garza-Cuen
            I was able to attend Jennifer Garza-Cuen’s lecture.  She is a traveler who photographs all the locations she visits.  She goes on to describe what she does as she feels it is what is most important. +So far she has visited seven countries and four continents.  According to statistics the average American moves nine times, Garza-Cuen is above average in this regard.  She was born in Seattle, Washington and her love of travel first showed when she was gifted a globe as a child.  An important question that she asked during her lecture is what is home? What defines home? Is home naturally where we are from or simply where we feel at home?  I found myself trying to answer that properly. Is my home here in Reno or back with my parents in Las Vegas? I for the moment am unable to correctly say which one is home.
            She takes photographs everywhere she goes as a form of documentation and as a way to remember each location she visits and the history that it holds.  One of the first images that she showed us was titled Untitled-Winged Girl Walking Olympia.  She shows us a photo of a very young looking girl in a white tank top and blue jeans wearing a pair of wings and also barefoot.  The girl is walking down a road leading to nowhere since all she has on either side of here is trees and brush.  Garza-Cuen makes the girl look incredibly tiny compared to the surroundings. I feel this girl like Garza-Cuen, in the sense that doesn’t really know where she is going or where she will end up, but either way she’s happy doing what she does.  It becomes more of a narrative for the artist in this way and not just a simple image, which I found enjoyable.

             Her lecture continued as she showed us images of run-down old buildings and vacant police stations.  Yes one can argue that these rundown buildings can also build a narrative, but at this point in time they’re just empty buildings and nothing else.  That’s how they were presented to us and I found it a little jarring compared to what she previously showed us.  I understand that these images are documentations of her travels, but they had less story to tell for me.  I don’t want to criticize her ability to photograph because she’s a wonderful photographer and I personally could never end up with an image like hers, but I wouldn’t consider it art more like a documentation of architecture of a once thriving town. These images don’t evoke emotion, they don’t make me try and look past the simple subjects and can very easily be overlooked.  Overall though I did find her ideas of what defines a home interesting and her personification of what she considers a home in her travels interesting to say the least.

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