Marilyn Waligore, Professor, Aesthetic Studies / Photography, directs the photography program at the University of Texas at Dallas. Waligore received an MFA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her articles have appeared in Leonardo and Photography Quarterly, and she has curated numerous group exhibitions. She has exhibited internationally-- Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Thailand--and in venues such as: SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles, California; New York Digital Salon, School of Visual Arts; Center for Photography at Woodstock; Silver Eye Center for Photography; Houston Center for Photography; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; Dayton Art Institute, Ohio; and in Austin, Texas at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Women & Their Work, and the Texas Biennial, Mexican American Cultural Center. Her awards and honors include: Ohio Arts Council Artist Fellowship, Visual Arts; Arts Midwest/ National Endowment of the Arts Regional Visual Arts Fellowship, Photography; and Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award, Photography and New Genres. Her work is included in museum collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
THE UTOPIAN DILEMMA
I explore connections between photography and sculpture by investigating the object and its materiality, while commenting on the potential for recycling. These photographs document objects collected during walks around my neighborhood. I chose aluminum metal because it endures as a visible emblem of the traces of consumer products that mark our environment. Aluminum forms are reclaimed and molded into a new sculptural structure, presented in these photographs as an idealized, yet absurd comment on the possibilities for reuse. My sculptures are bound by rubber bands and tape, which add tension and foreground their temporary or transitional status.
As we confront our contemporary existence, our desire for convenience and embrace of consumerism, we find ourselves faced with a Utopian Dilemma. The euphoria of modernism, with its promise of an elevated standard of living achieved through the availability of affordable mass-produced goods, has been replaced by an anxiety aligned with 21st century concerns regarding sustainability. We consider Utopia to be an idyllic place: freedom from want in a land of plenty. I strive to transform the discarded by inverting our value system, inspired by Thomas More’s 16th century story of Utopia. Media scholar Stephen Duncombe observes that Utopia "is the world turned upside down," where gold becomes worthless (40). I turn trash into treasure with the hope to prompt changes in social behavior.
Duncombe, Stephen. “Imagining No-Place: The Subversive Mechanics of Utopia.” Utopia & Contemporary Art. Eds. Christian Gether,
Stine Hoholt, and Marie Laurberg. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012. 39-46. Print.