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Bentonville Photography Exhibition Asks Viewers to Consider the Prevalence of Violence Against Women in the Cultural Regime | The Arkansas Democratic Gazette

BENTONVILLE — Kristine Potter: Dark Waters, an exhibition of richly detailed black and white photographs, opens to the public today at Momentary.

The photographs, primarily landscapes and portraits, are supported by a video and sound installation and are “inspired by enigmatic terrains surrounding bodies of water that bear the names of violence in the American South, places like Murder Creek”, https://www. arkansasonline.com/news/2024/may/11/photography-exhibit-in-bentonville-asks-viewers/“Deadman’s Branch” and “Bloody Fork”,” according to a press release.

“These are absolutely stunning photographs, and you’re going to be swept away by them,” said Alejo Benedetti, Momentary’s curator of contemporary art.

The exhibition is on view until October 13. Potter, the artist, is the grand prize winner of the 2023 Hariban Prize and an assistant professor of photography at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Dark Waters comes with Potter’s second monograph, co-published by Momentary and Aperture magazines, but it’s not exactly like that, Benedetti promised.

“Turning this from a book that you hold and look at to an exhibition that you go experience is…truly a transition,” he said. “It’s an exhibition that you’re not just going to see, you’re going to feel.”

Potter was present at a press preview Friday to introduce her works and kept her comments brief, saying it was best to experience the art first. Next to the works are numbers, rather than traditional signs, to allow visitors to discover them and let their own associations appear before adding someone else’s, she explained.

The opening area of ​​Dark Waters is supposed to feel a bit like an open mic night at a hole-in-the-wall honky tonk, Potter said. All the people starring in the projected video are men, and they all casually sing “killer ballads,” songs in which women are killed and abandoned in rivers and forests.

“It’s not meant to be anachronistic; it’s mostly to make you think about how much of the entertainment that you’re actually participating in is about some sort of gender-based violence,” Potter said, using the example of TV shows , movies, true crime podcasts, abuse stories. and violence against women, which she described as part of our cultural regime. “The work responds to the cumulative effect of the kinds of stories we tell about place and, particularly for women, that contribute to how we experience place.”

Potter is a photographer who generally works regionally, but she is interested in the mythology of the United States, the stories Americans tell about themselves, as well as archetypes of masculinity.

When she began working in the South, she became interested in the history of violence in the Southern landscape. Potter pivoted to the subject using bodies of water with ominous names, wondering how something like “Murder River” got and kept its name.

Potter started photographing for the project in 2015 and prints everything herself, she said. The resulting works – taken in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina – are not a journalistic response but rather a “lyrical documentary form” and focus on the way the settings make the viewer feel.

photo A participant looks at photographs Friday during a media preview of Kristine Potter’s Dark Waters photo exhibit at The Momentary in Bentonville. The exhibition is a collection of black and white photographs inspired by the enigmatic terrain surrounding the violently named bodies of water in the American South, places like Murder Creek, Deadman’s Branch, and Bloody Fork. The series of photographs, supported by a video and sound installation, reveals the deep-rooted associations between land and violence in this region of the country. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
photo A participant looks at photographs Friday during a media preview of Kristine Potter’s Dark Waters photo exhibit at The Momentary in Bentonville. The exhibition is a collection of black and white photographs inspired by the enigmatic terrain surrounding the violently named bodies of water in the American South, places like Murder Creek, Deadman’s Branch, and Bloody Fork. The series of photographs, supported by a video and sound installation, reveals the deep-rooted associations between land and violence in this region of the country. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
photo A participant looks at photographs Friday during a media preview of Kristine Potter’s Dark Waters photo exhibit at The Momentary in Bentonville. The exhibition is a collection of black and white photographs inspired by the enigmatic terrain surrounding the violently named bodies of water in the American South, places like Murder Creek, Deadman’s Branch, and Bloody Fork. The series of photographs, supported by a video and sound installation, reveals the deep-rooted associations between land and violence in this region of the country. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)