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School of the Arts

IU South Bend alumna exhibits at Smithsonian

Light in the Valley, large format photography by Krista Kuskye Light in the Valley, large format photography by Krista Kuskye

Krista Kuskye, a graduate of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend, has been selected to show her photography at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.  The exhibition, entitled “Momentum: A National Juried Exhibition for Emerging Artists with Disabilities, Ages 16-25,” is the 9th exhibition in this series presented by VSA and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.The exhibition is on display from September 7, 2011 to January 22, 2012.

Krista Kuskye received her B.F.A. in photography in 2011.  Her exhibition piece is a silver gelatin print of Union Station, Indiana, produced using the traditional darkroom process.  The image is part of an ongoing series dedicated to deteriorating buildings that she has been working on for the past few years and will continue to develop. 

Ms. Kuskye began her interest in photography during her sophomore year in high school.  At that time she was in the early stages of fibromyalgia, a disease in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.  Her teacher encouraged a love of art that Kuskye has developed through further study.  Ms. Kuskye came to IU South Bend to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and study with Associate Professor Susan L. Moore.

“Momentum: A National Juried Exhibition for Emerging Artists with Disabilities, Ages 16-25,” features the work of 15 emerging artists with disabilities who examine the vital creative spark behind their work.  The partnership supports young artists at a critical time when many are deciding whether to pursue the arts as a career.  The award validates and supports that life-defining choice.  The exhibition is presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian's Office of Accessibility.  It is being housed in the Ripley Center.

Krista Kuskye Artist Statement

I suppose one could say that I began creating art in my early childhood but truly did not begin to make meaningful works until my first year at Indiana University South Bend.  When I first began the five year journey at the university I did not know much about art or its history.  However, I did know that deep inside lie a passion for photography.  I had been taking photos consistently for three years previously, with little knowledge of the basics like composition, subject matter, and good tonal range.  Growing up was a challenge and photography was my escape from a harsh reality.  When I first started photographing objects I used a point and shoot 35mm camera generally without an objective.

Now, I primarily use a medium format camera and occasionally 35mm, or 4x5 camera.  I enjoy using traditional black and white film because it strips all symbolism associated with colors, and narrows the focus on the light quality and subject.  Mostly I make use of a two bath developer that gives the best tonal range in the negatives.  In addition I print on silver gelatin paper which in combination with the film allows me to achieve a sharp image.

Finding art is one of the best happenings of my life.  Even when I am having some of my worst days, I know that the pain will pass and I have photography to look forward to.  It’s like a therapy because it takes my mind off the pain and into this alternative world.  The challenges that I face are spoken through my art.  Going through the process of photographing and printing I can’t help but to reflect on who inspired me the most.

During my sophomore year in high school I signed up for photography class because I was interested in learning about the darkroom process.  At that time I was in the early stages of Fibromyalgia and my confidence was low.  The teacher of the class, Mr. B, was energetic and passionate about photography, which helped me not only to find my calling but to know there was a place for me in life.  After taking his class I was hooked and reeled into the world of art. Since that class I have been using my skill to photograph anything and everything in my path, but I hadn’t been able to fully understand how and why to make art until recently.

The best part of my career at IU South Bend has been the past couple of years, as I have begun to make work that is more personal to me and is part with a more emotional drive.  These years at IU South Bend have been very crucial for me in understanding my disease and how I can translate it into my work.

Krista Kuskye