Millee Tibbs’ work derives from her interest in photography’s ubiquity in contemporary culture and the tension between its truth-value and inherent manipulation of reality. Tibbs’ exhibition venues include the Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Blue Sky Gallery – Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Portland, OR; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; David Weinberg Photography, Chicago, IL; the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Licoln, MA; Brown University, Providence, RI; and Notre Dame University, IN. Her work has been published by the Humble Arts Foundation, Blue Sky Books, and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. Tibbs’ work is in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum, and the Portland Art Museum, and Fidelity Investments. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, VCCA, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Jentel, the Santa Fe Art Institute, and LPEP, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tibbs grew up in Alabama, completed an MFA at RISD in 2007, and is an assistant professor of photography at Wayne State University.
Mountains + Valleys addresses the fabrication of a romanticized ideal of the American West through the propagation of landscape imagery that glorifies a vacant wilderness. By disrupting the photographic image through physical interventions, my work responds to the miniaturization and domestication of the land through photography: each image holds the tension between the expansive, inaccessible vista and the intimate, tactile experience of the photo-object. Titled for the two primary folds in Origami, the work uses physical alterations to create relationships between formal geometries and natural spaces that question the illusionistic representation of the photographic image.
I travel to these sites to photograph them; then I print these images, fold them, and then re-photograph them. In later iterations of this series, the photographs are cut and folded and presented as three-dimensional objects. The images are simultaneously manipulated and yet photographically real. The geometric impositions onto the photo-object impress an aesthetic ideal onto the landscape, scarring the very thing they attempt to embellish. The fantasy of an untouched and untouchable vista is interrupted.
To view more of Millee’s work, visit her website.