Kelly Ciurej

Kelly Ciurej is originally from Chicago, Illinois where she received her Bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier University in Art and Design. Currently pursuing her MFA at University of Hawaii at Manoa, through the use of photography, digital printing processes and performance she is interested in the dialogue surrounding the rethinking and re-presentation of photographic ‘evidence’ of familial narration; how images can be used in ways to re-contextualize subject matter and to question the reality or truths of past events. She has been exhibited nationally in both group and solo shows, and currently lives and works in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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My photographic series Artificial Sweetener is an exploration of psychological “stickiness.” It examines relationships with the nuclear family, the incongruence between memory and photographic record, and the proliferation of manipulated realities via photography. Using material—which is largely gluttonous— itself as subject I am exploring the stickiness of certain psychological spaces that are internalized from familial experiences. The substances I use are often heavy, weighty, sweet, sugar-based. They are artificial ingredients, widely used in processed foods as well as within the household setting for baked goods. They express both excess and absence, as these particular substances are the epitome of ‘junk foods,’ high in additives and artificial sweeteners, but providing no value to the human body, oftentimes even causing it palpable harm. This material serves as a stand in for an inescapable, smothering stickiness of the psychological and emotional spaces I am exploring.

The basis of the work is an investigation of the ways in which photographs distort memories and instead create performed, invented realities. I am interested in the dialogue surrounding the rethinking and re-presentation of photographic ‘evidence’ of familial narration; how images can be used in ways to re contextualize subject matter and to question the reality or truths of past events.

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To view more of Kelly’s work please visit her website.



Issue No.13 – Call For Entry!


Paloma Shutes
Photo Editor
The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine
San Francisco, California


Aint–Bad No. 13 Call For Entry is officially open! We are teaming up with a new group of guest curators and editors from all over to collaborate on a publication that seeks the best contemporary photography being made today! Learn more about each of these talented curators and submit today!

Paloma Shutes is Photography Editor of The California Sunday Magazine. Previously, she worked in the photo departments at Wired and GQ, where she commissioned photography recognized by the Society of Publication Designers and American Photography.

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