Minneapolis photographer, Christopher Atkins, opens Kolman & Pryor Gallery’s 2016 exhibition schedule with a collection of images that explore the relationship between light and dark, restlessness and ease, sleep and wakefulness. Titled Wired, the show is Kolman & Pryor Gallery’s first photography exhibition. Wired runs from January 7 to February 20, 2016 and includes a free opening reception on Saturday, January 9, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Taken at night, during periods in which Atkins couldn’t sleep, the photographs are reflections on living in a light-filled world and a culture that values 24/7 technological connectivity. “In the past few years, I’ve been paying close attention to my sleep patterns,” Atkins explains. “I often wake up in the night, with a feeling of needing to be connected to technology, sometimes thinking about work or personal issues or just feeling anxious. I decided to visualize these moments of wakefulness—when I feel the least rested and the most wired, which is easier said than done.”
While some of the images were taken in his Minneapolis home, others were captured during stays in hotel rooms or on night walks during his travels throughout the United States. “There’s a relationship between lights—especially the blue light that emanates from our digital devices—and restlessness,” Atkins says. “These photos, some of which I take without a tripod and with the aperture wide open, usually have a bright core, show light creeping into darkness, and scrutinize the object quite closely.”
The exhibition includes black-and-white and color images. While some of the photographs were included in Atkins’ first solo show, When Not What at Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids, Minnesota, many of the images in Wired, his second solo exhibition, are new. Atkins has shown his photographs previously at Kolman & Pryor, as part of the group show, Guess Ready Review in 2014. “We learned while working with him during Guess Ready Review that Christopher is a terrific collaborator, and delivered a professional and flawless presentation of his work,” says Anita Sue Kolman, the gallery’s co-owner.
“His work also complements that of our other artists, as it’s thought provoking and elicits in the viewer questions about provenance, backstory, and intention,” Kolman adds. “Christopher’s work also brings a new dimension to work we present in the gallery.”
Adds Patrick K. Pryor, the gallery’s co-owner, “Like a lot of our artists’ work, the images in Wired have great narrative potential and provide multiple ways in which viewers can connect with them emotionally. Christopher’s mining of his mid-night wakefulness has produced poignant and evocative visual gems that easily connect with our own memories of being awake in the middle of the night.”
“Sleep isn’t a time of uninterrupted rest anymore,” Atkins adds. “Increasingly, many people go to but can’t stay asleep. While I created these images out of a personal need, I hope they echo what other people experience as well.”
Atkins is the Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA). Previously, he was Coordinator of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), where he mounted exhibitions by living artists from around the state of Minnesota. Atkins holds degrees in art history and visual cultures from the College of Wooster and Goldsmiths College at the University of London, and has taught museum studies and contemporary art at the College of Visual Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Macalester College.