ELIOT DUDIK: PARADISE ROAD
By Aline Smithson, January 26, 2017
I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much that my friend Eliot Dudik can’t do. He’s a master photographer who lugs an 8 x 10 camera across the United States as he documents history and place, a curator, an amazing educator who built the photo department at William and Mary from the ground up, a bookmaker, the crafter of his handmade frames, and a producer of the most unbelievable “leave-behind” at PhotoNOLA from a few years back. But most importantly, he’s a thoughtful, giving, inclusive member of our photo community. Eliot has a new series, Paradise Road, that has taken him down the back roads our country in search of Arcadia. It’s a timely project, as he looks for utopia in a divided country, using the location of “Paradise Roads” as the map for his journeys. There are 196 Paradise Roads in the continental United States, and Eliot has photographed over 90 to date. As Eliot states, “I wanted to drive to paradise and see what was there,” envisioning this project as a means to “take the temperature of the country. In American culture, the belief persists that through one’s own efforts, a personal paradise is achievable. But what does that paradise look like? Does it really exist?”
Eliot opens an exhibition of this work at The Southern Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to his work, he has curated a second exhibition, Paradise Out-Front, which we will feature tomorrow. The show opens on Friday, January 27 (Reception: 7 – 10 pm) and runs through February 26, 2017.
Eliot Dudik is a photographic artist, educator, and bookmaker exploring the connection between culture, history, and politics. His first monograph, ROAD ENDS IN WATER, was published in 2010. In 2012, Dudik was named one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch and one of Oxford American Magazine’s 100 New Superstars of Southern Art. He was awarded the PhotoNOLA Review Prize in 2014 for his Broken Land and Still Lives portfolio, resulting in a book publication and solo exhibition. Broken Land was most recently published as a feature in the July/August 2015 issue of Smithsonian Magazine. FLASH FORWARD 2015 chose the series for publication and exhibition in Toronto and Boston.
His photographs have been installed in group and solo exhibitions across the United States and Canada including Dishman Art Museum (TX), Morris Museum of Art (GA), Masur Museum of Art (LA), Muscarelle Museum of Art (VA), Cassilhaus (NC), Annenberg Space for Photography (CA), Columbia Museum of Art (SC), Southeast Museum of Photography (FL), Welch Gallery at Georgia State University (GA), Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery at Coastal Carolina University (SC), Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University (VA), New Orleans Photo Alliance (LA), Carte Blanche Gallery (CA), Davis Gallery at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville (FL), Carlson Gallery at the University of La Verne (CA), and the Division Gallery in Toronto, Canada, for examples. Upcoming solo exhibitions also include the Griffin Museum of Photography (MA) and the Center for Fine Art Photography (CO).
Eliot taught photography at the University of South Carolina from 2011 to 2014 before founding the photography program within the Department of Art and Art History at the College of William & Mary where he is currently teaching and directing the Andrews Gallery at the college.VIEW ON LENSCRATCH