back   |   home   |   next
international photography annual 3 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Stefan Petranek
Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana University, Herron School of Art and Design, Assistant Professor

detail image


At its core, my studio practice explores nature through the lens of contemporary culture, especially in response to technological and scientific advances. While science provides a deeper understanding of the natural world, the application of science-based technologies often draws conflict by allowing us to see ourselves as separate, if not above, nature. Through visual metaphor I attempt to point out the artificiality of these self-imposed boundary lines while hoping to cobble together a personal and possibly more holistic view of nature in the face of modernity. Fascinated with the often hidden and complex systems in nature that are generally experienced indirectly, such as genes, gravity, and the tendency for disorder, I often visualize natural ëforcesí in competition with humanity and find myself reexamining the age-old dialectic between nature and culture through the lens of science.

Usually taking the shape of structured, serialized trials, my work is heavily influenced by my previous training as a biologist and research scientist, pursuits which draw conclusions through experimentation and repetitive observation. This desire for objectivity and detail makes photography a rich medium for my artistic practice. With it I am able to create a seductive surface that can compel viewers to engage with the conceptual ideas housed within the work. Instinctually intrigued by the poetical nuances of the natural world outside my window, photography provides a means to make reality partially malleable. Within its set of intricate boundaries, I can bend the rules enough to weave my experiences of the everyday into allusions about our cultureís complex relationship to nature.

Though primarily an image-based artist, I embrace the philosophy that ideas should be tied to materials and processes which best suit them and regularly find myself incorporating time-based media, sculpture, and installation into my practice to better explore the concepts that engage my practice.





born: 1977, Miami, Florida



Rochester Institute of Technology, MFA, 2006

Bowdoin College, BA, 1999

Fulbright Full Grant, Universidad Austral de Chile, 2000


selected awards/honors

Individual Artist Program Grant, Indiana Arts Commission, 2014

Critical Mass Finalist, Photolucida, Portland, Oregon, 2013

New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Grant. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Strategic Opportunity Stipend Grant. New York Foundation for the Arts, Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, New York, 2010


selected publications

Creative Quarterly, Issue #35, Runner-up: Professional Photography, Web.

Visual Overture Magazine. Spotlight on Science. Winter 2011, p. Print.

Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents. Eds. Pam Hatley and Pamela Martin. Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Press. p.78-80, 2010. Print.

Water. ìFossils,î Ed. John Knechtel. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press & Alphabet City Media, p.72-81, Print.


selected solo or two-person exhibits

The Genetic Portrait Project, An Interactive Public Art Initiative, American Society of Human Genetics Annual Conference, Convention Center, San Diego, California, 2014

Gray Wing & Approach, Indianapolis International Airport Terminal Panoramic Video Wal, lIndianapolis, Indiana, 2014

Portfolio Showcase: Word & Image, Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, New York, 2013

Me Pix: Picturing Ourselves in Video and Photography, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, New York, 2012


selected group shows

PhotoSpiva 2014 National Photographic Competition, Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin, Missouri, 2014

Mapping: Borders, Bodies, Memories. Filter Photo Festivalís Juried Exhibition curated by Paula Tognarelli, David Weinberg Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2013

City of Varna, Videoholica 2011 International Video Festival, Varna, BULGARIA, 2011

Indecisive Moment: Photographerís Using Video, Hendershot Gallery and Bridget Gallery, New York, New York, 2009





Copyright © Manifest Press