Penn State School of Visual Arts alumnus Jeremy Dennis (’16 M.F.A) is a recent recipient of a Harpo Foundation Grant, which covered expenses associated with his residency at the Vermont Studio Center, as well as provided a stipend for the residency. During his time at the Vermont Studio Center, Dennis said he “returned to a previous series of work involving the depiction of indigenous myths and stories,” taking full advantage of the trails and woodland areas available to shoot in.
Dennis grew up on a reservation and his photography reflects that experience. Primarily, he creates images that depict traditionally audible stories and mythologies of First Nation people. Although each tribe has distinct traditions, Dennis focuses on sharing knowledge and reflecting on it, rather than reinforcing divisions between tribes. His depictions may change elements of the story, typically the environment and iconography, to represent his ancestral region and tradition. Through this method, the images become a mix of research, interpretation, and life experience.
During his time at Penn State, Dennis was the recipient of a $10,000 Dreamstarter Grant, which he said is “being used to research and photograph the important historical landscapes relating to the indigenous people throughout Long Island, N.Y.” He plans to exhibit this body of work during summer 2017. In the meantime, view his progress here: http://jeremynative.com/onthissite/
“My time at Penn State SoVA helped tremendously with my ability to communicate creatively,” said Dennis. “Learning about contemporary artists, including the professors and fellow students, encouraged me to pursue my work and were essential to lead me to where I am today.”