Photographer Sheila Pree Bright's Young Americans to Premiere at High Museum of Art
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Photographer Sheila Pree Bright's Young Americans to Premiere at High Museum of Art
Sheila Pree Bright. Donovan Singleton, 2007. Chromogenic Print, 40 X 30 in.

ATLANTA.- “Young Americans,” a dynamic new series of photographs by Atlanta-based photographer Sheila Pree Bright, will debut at the High Museum of Art in May 2008. The exhibition explores the identities of U.S. citizens and immigrants pursuing citizenship by presenting portraits of Americans aged 18 to 25, each posing with an American flag.

The exhibition will consist of 28 large-format chromogenic prints, several accompanied by statements from the subjects revealing their opinions and attitudes about American culture and society. On view in Atlanta through August 10, 2008, “Young Americans” will travel to The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, an affiliate institution housed within the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. Additional venues yet to be announced will follow.
“The High Museum is proud to debut this vital new work,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director at the High Museum of Art. “Sheila Pree Bright’s ‘Young Americans’ brings an exciting and timely dialogue about American identity to the High in this election year. The exhibition offers a fresh, contemporary perspective and an insightful look at the attitudes and beliefs of young adults.”

Pree Bright began working on the “Young Americans” series in the fall of 2006, and her swift development of the project led to her selection as the inaugural recipient of an artist-in-residency at the Amistad Center for Art and Culture. Her subjects are photographed with the American flag in poses reflecting elements of their identities and feelings about their country. Pree Bright collaborates with her subjects by inviting them to choose their own clothing, poses, and interactions with the flag. She has said of the work, “Young people born between 1982 and 2000 constitute the largest generation since the baby boomers, but they are often portrayed negatively in our society. I wanted to give them a platform to speak for themselves—to show and describe how they feel about this country. I also wanted to include young people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic groups.”
“Sheila is a tremendously talented artist, independent and courageous of voice,” remarks Julian Cox, Curator of Photography at the High and organizing curator for this exhibition. “While relatively simple in conception, the series is challenging and thought-provoking in equal measure.”

Sheila Pree Bright
A 2002 National Graduate Seminar Fellow at the Photography Institute at Columbia University, N.Y., Pree Bright earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from Georgia State University in 2003. Her photographs are included in public and private collections across the United States. In 2006 she was awarded the prestigious Santa Fe Prize. Presented annually by the Santa Fe Center for Photography, this prize recognizes young artists working in photography who show special promise. Currently a studio artist at The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, she was awarded the En Foco New Works Photography Award (1999) and the National Bronica Award (2001). Pree Bright’s work prior to “Young Americans” highlights issues related to ethnic identity and gender and includes the series “Suburbia,” which focuses on home environments of African Americans residing in the suburbs.

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