By Shannon Davis
Atlanta, Georgia: Shannon Davis, 2022. Edition of 50.
4.75 x 2.75 x 1.75" box containing 6 page text pamphlet and 10 panel double sided accordion of images. Match box design with photo of burned matches applied to interior base. Text digitally printed in Franklin Gothic condensed and Acktiv Grotesk typefaces. Inkpress Duo Matte 44 and Chipboard papers. Signed and numbered.
Shannon Davis: "Like many in the US, I am a transplant and have lived in the South longer than anywhere else. I ask locals, How long do I need to live in the South till I’ll be considered a southerner? Their answer is always the same, NEVER. ‘Controlled Burn’ is a conceptual photography series that explores the smoldering act of assimilation and the pursuit of home. To illustrate narrative experiences I combine familiar objects into uncommon assemblages. The wit and juxtaposition of the art directed still lifes convey observations while navigating a new place. The combinations become a metaphor for feeling out of place while offering a reframe of regional stereotypes, inviting the viewer to question what is being represented and how it resonates with their idea of the South."
The artist views this as an outsider coming to terms with a new environment but to me the images and text present a poignant view of the South I grew up in. We like to think we have come far since the Civil War but for so many the confederacy still lives, conservatism rules. The text refers to the landscape as a “dramatic stage displaying over ripe narratives challenging realism and myth.” She writes about the “controlled burn” that farmers ignite to manage undergrowth. How much of our southern history has been a “controlled burn” that still has smoldering ash of the confederacy.