About the Photographer
American, b. 1958
Mass-produced magazine pages hand worked into unique objects, their slick fashion images made soft and hazy through wear, the pieces in John Sparagana's Sleeping Beauty series are rich in reversals and seeming contradictions. Made by crumpling the page with his hands until the paper feels like cloth, the process of their creation is one of destruction. Yet while the extreme fatigue obviously demonstrates break down, the traces of image and withstanding unity of the paper nonetheless evoke persistence, speaking as much to the deeply entrenched impact of advertising as to the physical material of the media that convey its messages. Sparagana highlights such contrasts by preserving a pristine strip from the distress endured by the rest of the page. This triptych of untitled double-page spreads shifts the strip of clarity from one figure to another with a cinematic sweep. Seen together the group provides a telling glimpse of information lost from the original image and what is gained in Sparagana's alternating decisions to neglect or transform.
John Sparagana was born in 1958 in Rochester, New York. He holds an MFA from Stanford University, Stanford, California (1987). A three-time recipient of Individual Artist's Grants from Cultural Arts Council of Houston, Texas (2003, 1996, 1992), he is also the recipient of Residency Fellowships from Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, Wyoming (2003) and Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (1987). Recent solo exhibitions of his work include People Everywhere are Tired at Modern Culture, New York; Sleeping Beauty at Mixture Contemporary Art, Houston; I Wait For You Every Night at Rice University Media Center, Houston; and Denser Moments of Awareness at Roswell Museum & Art Center, New Mexico. An Associate Professor at Rice University, Sparagana lives in both Houston and Chicago.