On View

Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images

June 01 - September 08, 2024

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Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images examines how the camera records and constructs American histories. Mining the archives of major US institutions, Syjuco (born 1974, Manila, Philippines) engages with photographs and objects to reframe our view. She uses photographic tools such as color-calibration charts, Photoshop applications, and even her own hands, which gently intervene in images.

Syjuco’s works reveal the authorial control in image making. This theme materializes in Still Life Construct: Background as Foreground (2022)—a theatrical staging of photographic and museological props. Another series of photographs sets a bucking bronco sculpture by the American artist Frederic Remington (1861–1909) against a studio backdrop, suggesting the role institutions play in preserving fabricated mythologies of the western frontier. Across the exhibition, Syjuco traces American military expeditions overseas, including the United States’s occupation of the Philippines (1898–1946), as an extension of Manifest Destiny, the nineteenth-century belief that the US’s westward expansion was preordained. The artist assembles collaged photographs with meticulous care to question how the United States narrates ideas of empire, citizenship, and belonging within its own archives. In other artworks, Syjuco challenges historical photographs by crumpling, pixelating, and otherwise tending to them to offer moments of resistance for those subjected to the camera’s gaze.

Syjuco’s artistic interventions demonstrate how standing behind the camera—seeing without being seen—is a position of power that enables the photographer to shape the visual record. She explodes the neutrality of photography, unveiling the constructed nature of images and the histories they narrate.

After/Images is accompanied by a monograph of Syjuco’s work that features full-color illustrations and essays by Aruna D’Souza, Georgia Erger, and Ekalan Hou.

Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images is organized by Georgia Erger, Associate Curator.

Generous support provided by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Frye Members. Media sponsorship provided by the International Examiner.

Installation view of Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images, Frye Art Museum. Seattle, June 1–September 8, 2024. Photo: Jueqian Fang

Stephanie Syjuco. Block Out the Sun (detail), 2019. Archival pigment prints mounted on aluminum, custom vitrine. 30 prints, each: 8 x 10 in. or 10 x 8 in., overall: 96 x 48 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco 

Stephanie Syjuco. Afterimages (Obstruction of Vision), 2021. Photogravure printed on gampi mounted on paper. 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco

Stephanie Syjuco. Tender, Sifter, Keeper, Center, 2024. Digital prints on paper, three-channel digital video (color, sound). 144 x 420 in. overall. Commissioned by the Frye Art Museum; courtesy of the artist. Produced with the assistance and permission of the Filipino American National Historical Society, Seattle. Installation view of Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images, Frye Art Museum. Seattle, June 1–September 8, 2024. Photo: Jueqian Fang

Stephanie Syjuco. Headshots (Witness 1), 2021. Pigmented inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Baryta mounted on aluminum. 13 x 13 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco 

Stephanie Syjuco. Dodge and Burn (Visible Storage), 2019. Wooden platform, digital photos and printed vinyl on laser-cut wood, chroma-key fabric, printed backdrops, seamless paper, artificial plants, mixed media. 204 x 240 x 96 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Installation view of Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images, Frye Art Museum. Seattle, June 1–September 8, 2024. Photo: Jueqian Fang  

Stephanie Syjuco. Still Life Construct: Background as Foreground (staff photographer’s tools, props, and supports, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art), 2022. Archival pigment print. 36 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco

Stephanie Syjuco. Blind Spot (detail), 2023. Photographs mounted on aluminum in wooden frames, installed over vinyl. Dimensions variable. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, purchase, 2022.33.1–40. Installation view of Stephanie Syjuco: After/Images, Frye Art Museum. Seattle, June 1–September 8, 2024. Photo: Jueqian Fang

Stephanie Syjuco. Master, Photographed (Albert Bierstadt, ‘In the Mountains,’ 1867, oil on canvas, acc. no.1923.253, collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art), 2022. Archival pigment print. 39 x 50 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco 

Stephanie Syjuco. Crumpled Calibration 1, 2021. Archival digital print. 15 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist; Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco; RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; and Silverlens Gallery, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Stephanie Syjuco