Biography

Biography

Cig Harvey’s photographs are intertwined with a rich narrative and autobiography. Since the age of thirteen, she has found herself captivated by and single-mindedly committed to the medium of photography as a way to tell stories.

The photographs and artist books of Cig Harvey, MFA, have been widely exhibited and remain in the permanent collections of major museums and collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine; and the International Museum of Photography and Film at the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. She was a recent finalist of the BMW Prize at Paris Photo and the Prix Virginia, an international photography prize for women. Cig had her first solo museum show at the Stenersen Museum in Oslo, Norway, in the spring of 2012 in conjunction with the release of her monograph, You Look At Me Like An Emergency (Schilt Publishing, 2012).

Cig’s devotion to visual storytelling has lead to innovative international campaigns and features with New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Kate Spade, and Bloomingdales. Cig teaches workshops and regularly speaks on her work and processes at institutions around the world. She is known for her high energy, sense of humor and creativity. She brings a profound sense of optimism to all that she does.

Cig lives in a farmhouse in the Midcoast of Maine with her husband Doug, daughter Scout, and dog Scarlet. She was an assistant professor at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University for ten years, but recently took a leap of faith to devote her life to purely making things.

In the Garden by Vicki Goldberg

In the Garden by Vicki Goldberg - Cig Harvey trips the light fantastic in the dark. She dances on the edge of revelation: a sliver of light from a door and a hot pink balloon disclose a child; a vigorous moon drenches the earth with a dazzle of stars. She tends a garden world at night and her camera hones in on radiance, gleam and discoveries hidden in the shadows a hand reaching out, an arm.

For centuries, painters like Georges de la Tour and Willem Claes Heda lit up corners in paintings otherwise drenched in black, but when Alfred Stieglitz took a photograph one dark night in 1898 it was considered a feat. Night photographs have since become commonplace think of Brassai’s Paris de Nuit and O. Winston Link’s midnight trains — but Harvey’s light sources are uncommonly elusive and unexpected, even verging on conundrum, as if in agreement with Louise Gluck’s poem:

“It is not the moon, I tell you. /  It is these flowers  /  lighting the yard.”

Harvey herself says these pictures “mark notations on time passing: A gold birthday cake, seasons changing, fallen deep red apples.” Indeed, nature can outdo clocks as a reminder that time is inexorable. Dusk comes on without fail every evening; day makes a habit of vanquishing night. On occasion, Harvey too relinquishes night in favor of sunlight: a girl in a patterned dress moves through a sunlit orchard that half hides her, binding her into the orchard’s growth; a red chair and a red-painted wall do their best to imitate the brilliance of pomegranate seeds. Yet sometimes even her daylight pictures balk at unlimited sun and court enough mist to baffle the eye instead: obscurity making a hesitant bid for dominance.

In photographs as in life, time moves solely in one direction but light and dark play unaccountable games. For light waltzes across the secrets and surprises of day and night alike, while an ardent and enterprising camera fills in the empty spaces on their dance cards.

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