Jason Vaughn~ Wisconsin

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MMoCA (Madison Museum of Contemporary Art): "Jason Vaughn was born and raised in Northern California and moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2011. He is a fine art documentary photographer who focuses on Middle America, showcasing everyday people and scenes in a way that is suggestive of melancholy and permanence."
By Jason Vaughn
Oakland, California: 2014, TBW Books. Edition of 30.

Box set includes custom box, book, 2 signed Kodak f Surface prints, and a signed and silkscreened colophon. Book: 8.25 x 9.5"; 74 pages with 40 four-color plates. First edition published by Trema Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden, 2014) in an edition of 400, signed by Vaughn. Box design by Paul Schiek: 11.5 x 9.5 x 15", custom framed enclosure with sliding lid, constructed of found materials. Box production by TBW Books.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art: "Jason Vaughn’s portfolio of Wisconsin deer stands takes its place in the history of twentieth-century typological photography. This methodical approach to image making is most familiarly associated with Bernd and Hilla Becher, the German photographers who systematically documented variations in a specific 'type' of building, such as blast furnaces and water towers. More than a straightforward, collective portrait of all types of deer stands, however, Vaughn’s typological series reflects on Wisconsin families and traditions. Seeking out these stands and subsequently locating their owners, the artist became aware of the familial connections forged through the very Midwestern custom of deer hunting, with seasoned hunters passing down techniques, values, and even hand-built structures to coming generations."

Jason Vaughn: "hide is a project that began as a commentary on Wisconsin’s hunting tradition, using deer stands as a metaphor for the changing values of the sport. When my sudden cancer diagnosis interrupted the project, hide took on a much deeper, more personal meaning.

"I was inspired on my drives through Wisconsin by deer stands, and began having conversations with hunters about the tradition of hunting in their families. Some people described building the stands as something permanent that could be passed to the next generation, especially sons who would inherit the land. I was anticipating the birth of my own son and thinking about my legacy to him, so this idea resonated strongly with me. I also heard hunters emphasize that their pastime is not about violence, but more about oneness with nature and time spent with their children in the stands. I wanted these photographs to capture the serenity of that sentiment, and to suggest the dignity that was associated with hunting when it was seen as a means of feeding large families. Finally, I wanted to look at the issue from a historical standpoint, and the impermanent nature of some of the stands illustrates the fading hunting tradition in Wisconsin, which has declined in recent years.

"When I was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011, my work on hide was put on hold. I was 32 years old and had a 3-month-old baby at home. Having to face mortality so unexpectedly made me come back to the project with a new perspective on the ideas of permanence and impermanence. Ultimately, hide became my reflection on legacies and family, my homage to the state that has
become my home, and a narrative about accepting change."

TBW: "Materials chosen for the special edition mimic the essence of the deer stands; weathered and rugged plywood, taking on the characteristics of their surroundings, meant to conceal the contents within, these rough elements are used in contrast to the edition’s finely milled and assembled framework."

The two prints included reflect the area's two extreme climates of summer and winter.




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Page last update: 11.07.15


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