Memphis, TN | Photography, Time-based
Lake Roberson Newton (b. 1974) was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from Rhodes College with a BA degree in Psychology. After completing his undergraduate studies, Lake moved abroad in order to teach English as a second language and pursue his photography. He spent extended periods of time living/working in Debrecen, Hungary - Budapest, Hungary and Gwangju, South Korea. Upon returning to the United States, Lake entered the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, obtaining his degree in 2009. Lake has taught art-based curriculum in numerous institutions around the U.S. including Loyola University Maryland, Rhodes College, Memphis College of Art, New Mexico State University and Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore.
Lake Newton has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally, which recent shows at the Masur Museum of Art, LA (2020), Middle Tennessee State University, TN (2020), Texas Women's University, TX (2020), Crosstown Arts, TN (2019), University of Central Oklahoma, OK (2019), Florida State University, FL (2019), Lemieux Galleries, LA (2019), Marshall University, WV (2019), Oklahoma State University, OK (2018), Fort Wayne Museum of Art, IN (2018), Light City, MD (2018), McNeese State University, LA (2018), School 33 Art Center, MD (2018), and others. Lake's work has appeared in various publications and catalogues including Oxford American, Gambit, Art Papers, Sun Magazine, Leica Fotographie International, Memphis Flyer, and others.
Lake utilizes a wide range of instruments in order to explore and translate his immediate surroundings, including digital cameras, video, scanners, sound, software and aerial drones.
Art as an idea and Art as an action. I see my work as straddling these two sources. It is a balance of the mental and the physical, the territory of ideas and the territory of materials and places. At the heart of my work is a desire for a direct engagement with my surroundings in order to create an inventory of experience. It is about being a body in the world and about measuring the world against oneself; and it is less about a precise representation of reality than the formulation of a representation of the world in which I live.
My photographic work is a deliberate attempt to subvert a physical environment and transform it into a new kind of visual language that both reflects and denies the represented forms. Through this process, I am attempting to generate imagery that activates the imagination and emotional state of the viewer in order to provide a space for open thinking. If you use the believability of photography, you can portray things as matter-of-fact and in that way shape a new reality. For me, the images are rich mediations on desire, frailty, promises, boredom, hurt, envy, connections, missed connections, paranoia and transcendent beauty.
I am continuously trying to find ways, primarily through photography but also with video, drones, sculpture, scanners, installation and the use of other new media, where the imagery and the material and the meaning are not an illustration of my will but more serve as a platform for visual and intellectual engagement. As I see it, the real challenge, as it always is with the artist, is to humanize life, to formulate it for someone else, to render its interstices, to try to tell a truth, to show how life is lived, and therefore to affirm life. But somehow reality does not tolerate its own reflection; rather it seems to reject it. Thus, my firm belief is that only a different reality, whatever it is, may be substituted for the reality one wishes to convey. In the best case, an artist describes not only the situation and objects, but endows them with a deeper meaning and lets them transcend themselves with a disturbing and visceral force. This is a powerful trait of art as it deprives us of convictions and poses more questions than it answers.