Form + Content Gallery presents Interrupted Landscapes, new work by Steve Ozone. Ozone’s photographs combine portraits of immigrants set apart from the landscape through the use of a canvas background in both urban and rural settings. These alternative landscapes reminds us that we, excluding Native Americans, were all immigrants to the United States at one time.
Born in Rochester, New York, Steve Ozone lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Ball State University in Indiana (David Letterman's alma mater) with a B.A. in Photojournalism. His work has been shown both locally, nationally and held in private collections. In 2008 he worked with the St. Bernard Project in Louisiana to photograph families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He received a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership grant in 2009 and 2013 and a National Park Service grant in 2011. His studio is located at the Traffic Zone Center For Visual Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Steve Ozone's Artist Statement:
Through portraiture and oral history interviews with recent immigrants, I examine the journey, hopes, aspirations, difficult transitions, and how they each negotiate the compromises necessary in order to become American. Their images detail the friction between diversity and homogeneity, identity and assimilation and the apprehension of being recast in this new role.
As I invite their disclosures, I hope to foster a deeper understanding of my own sense of difference. As a third generation Japanese - Chinese American I’ve been spared the discrimination and struggle my parents and grandparents endured in the United States. My grandfather told a story of how he was struck in the head by a brick thrown by a construction worker who’s co-workers shouted racist taunts. As a young man, my father was imprisoned with his family along with 110,000 others during World War II, based solely on the fact that they were of Japanese descent. When my Japanese father married my Chinese mother in 1951, my mother’s family refused to attend the wedding so recent were the wounds of Japanese occupation of China in World War II. Nonetheless, through my parent’s partnership I was born into a life of relative privilege. Growing up in white suburbia I had all the advantages and opportunities my Caucasian neighbors enjoyed, such as the American Dream of a secure home and the expectation of going to college. Yet, my Asian-ness set me apart, a characteristic that continues to define me as different. Although we are defined by a discourse of being a melting pot, I feel I remain foreign in spite of my third generation status. Carlos Fuentes Macias tells us, “Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.” I am interested in exploring my parents’ and grandparents’ experiences and my perceived foreignness, through the life stories of recent immigrants to the United States. Through their eyes I seek to capture the tension that lies between the melting pot rhetoric and the immigrant reality.
December 15 – January 21, 2017
Saturday, December 17, 2016, 6 –9:00 pm