Reconstruction by Barry O'Keefe —PURCHASE PRIZE AWARD!

Contemporary photographic images of nine locations in Richmond, Virginia are overlaid with letterpressed excerpts of historical text and handwritten personal memories. Each image, when held to the light, reveals notes which unpack the invisible, personal, historical trauma present at each site. Sites are ordered chronologically, and present a narrative arc, encompassing the growth of the slave trade, acts of organized resistance and repression, the Civil War, and concluding following Reconstruction. These layers work to extract meaning from the illegible coding of contemporary landscapes and artifacts and make visible the human drama concealed in the mundane and overlooked corners of postmodern urban space. —PURCHASE PRIZE AWARD!

Artist Bio

Barry O'Keefe is an artist from Richmond, Virginia. He received a BA in English and Russian Studies at the College of William and Mary, and is currently completing an MFA in printmaking at Ohio University. Trained as a printmaker, Barry's work employs a variety of printmaking techniques including woodcut, letterpress, serigraphy and risograph prints. Thematically, his work engages with cultural amnesia, neglected public spaces, and the deep alienation of the postmodern landscape. O'Keefe has exhibited handmade books both nationally and internationally. His work can be found in the collections of the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Va, the Black History Museum of Virginia in Richmond, the Library of Virginia, Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, El Minia University in Egypt, and Bank Street Arts in Sheffield, UK.