About the Photographer
American, b. 1958 Rochester, New York
John Sparagana’s “Sleeping Beauty” series is comprised of mass-produced fashion magazine pages that have been crumpled by hand until the images become soft and hazy and the paper feels like cloth. Rich in reversals and seeming contradictions, 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 completed his MFA from Stanford University, 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). He has held solo exhibitions at Modern Culture, New York (2004); Mixture Contemporary Art, Houston (2004, 2005); Rice University Media Center, Houston (2002, 2013); and Roswell Museum & Art Center, New Mexico (1995-1996); among others. An Associate Professor at Rice University, Sparagana lives in both Houston and Chicago.