“Delray: Hot and Slow” is an essay in photographs that explores the world’s largest addiction recovery community in and around the Palm Beach County city of Delray Beach, FL.
I’m interested in the lived experience of people who believe, even momentarily, in a certain kind of hard, fragile, and quietly built, redemption, in what it feels like to exist in such a transitional and transient place, in the waiting that goes along with the effort, and in what it means to work towards survival when you are surrounded by the spectacle of well-heeled retirement, travel, and leisure.
Delray’s recovery industry and communities have been growing exponentially for years in the midst of an expanding epidemic of drug overdoses and alcoholism in the U.S. What is it about our contemporary ambitions and values that lead more and more people down paths of isolation, alienation, escape, and ruin? Which unspoken, unshared, or quietly ignored traumas are people medicating? And in a culture that systematically discards everything it creates, how do we manage the fact that America’s emphasis on strident individualism and material success often requires us to discard people too?
This project addresses those very questions through a close and careful looking at the people who pursue their own rebuilding. Though there may be more immediate titillation in representations of self-destruction and defeat, I’m pursuing a deeper kind of consideration. I’m searching for what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it means, to survive.
2013 MFA, Columbia University 2006 BFA, New York University
A Great Sum (In Parts), Osnova Gallery, Moscow, Russian Federation
A New Nothing, There There Now, Independent Art Book Fair, Queens, NY There There Now, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
It Follows, Torrance Shipman Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Befana’s Secret Booty, Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY
Its Unlikely (curated by Veronica Levitt), Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY
In Response – Repetition and Difference, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY Mossless, One Eye’d Jack’s Gallery, Brighton, UK
International Photography Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel Mossless, TGIF, New York, NY
Soft Monsters, Beverly’s, New York, NY Pyramid Scheme, Brooklyn, NY
Come Together, Surviving Sandy Year One (curated by Phong Bui), Brooklyn, NY Jew York, Untitled Gallery & Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY.
Fishing in the Dark, Violet’s Cafe, Brooklyn, NY
MFA Thesis Exhibition, The Fischer Landau Center, Long Island City, NY.
CENTER 100, Review Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
Sharpe-Wallentas Studio Program, New York, NY
A-Z West Wagon Station Encampment with Andrea Zittel, Joshua Tree, CA
SELECTED PRESS & PUBLICATION
“Parallelograms & A New Nothing,” UNSEEN Magazine
“Nat Ward & Ben Alper: A New Nothing,” The British Journal of Photography, Winter 2015-16
“More Sensational Photos of America,” Vice Magazine
“SoSo 2,” Orenbeg Press 2014 “America,” Mossless
“Interleaves,” Orenbeg Press
“Columbia MFA Thesis Exhibition Favorite: Nat Ward”, Whitewall Magazine
PANELS & LECTURES
“Nat Ward,” Alfred University Department of Drawing, Painting, & Photography, Alfred, NY 2014 “American Fiction,” International Photography Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel.
“New Fiction,” University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
“A Performing Apparatus,” Columbia University Graduate Department of Art History, New York, NY.
Look Between, LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville, VA
Secret Dungeon, Artist Collective Project Space, Brooklyn, NY – http://www.secretdungeonproject.com/
A New Nothing, Photographic Conversations, Online Project Space – http://www.anewnothing.com/