Fan Mail: Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon

For this edition of Fan Mail, Mississippi  based artist Dominic Lippillo and New York based artist Mark Schoon have been selected from a group of worthy submissions.  If you would like to be considered, please submit to a link to your website with ‘Fan Mail’ in the subject line.  Two artists are featured each month – the next one could be you!

Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon. From the series "Anti-Local." 2010-2011. C-Prints. Two 4x4" images on 11x14" paper

Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon met in 2006 at the start of their MFA program in Photography at Ohio University. While Anti-Local is the duo’s first proper collaborative project, they recognized a shared sensibility in one another’s work at the time of their graduate thesis exhibitions in 2009. Lippillo recalls, “we were both working on domestic interiors, but in completely different ways and for completely different reasons. Having said that, we often made images that contained similar qualities.” Given this resonance, the two decided to share gallery space for their exhibitions. And thus was born the idea of a future collaboration.

Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon. From the series "Anti-Local." 2010-2011. C-Prints. Two 4x4" images on 11x14" paper

Upon completion of their degrees, Lippillo and Schoon went their separate ways, ending up in two very disparate locations: the small city of Starkville, Mississippi and Queens, New York – placing 1,114 miles between the two artists. Anti-Local has developed as an ongoing, photographic collaboration that investigates the significance of this distance as it pertains to the ideas of house versus home, space versus place. This series will end once the work becomes redundant; I’ve always admired the flexibility afforded by projects that artists allow to end naturally, if ever.

Logistically, Anti-Local is quite simple. The artists email one another three to fives photographs taken within their homes. The recipient responds to these visual “prompts” with a photograph of his own that utilizes aesthetic decisions regarding lighting, scale, texture and color – among other factors –to make them read as a pair.

Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon. From the series "Anti-Local." 2010-2011. C-Prints. Two 4x4" images on 11x14" paper

Alone, these images act as isolated vignettes of objects and domestic life. When placed in dialogue, and within the unique context of the artists’ separation and distinctive locales, they begin to engage in an interesting conversation regarding the similarities intrinsic to domesticity regardless of location.

The resulting diptyches are presented as 4 x 4 inch images on 11 x 14 paper. This format suits the project well as it invites the viewer to approach the work closely in order to discern the details that distinguish what are often quite similar photographs, both in subject and aesthetically. As the project moves forward, both artists have expressed an interest in continuing to challenge the reaches of this concept and format, creating images that are more personal and less generic in overall approach.

20 images from this project are currently on exhibition at the Renaissance Art Center in Dickson, Tennessee. In the fall, photographs from the project will be exhibited at the SRO Photo Gallery at Texas Tech University.