Victoria Crayhon American, b. 1964


Victoria Crayhon is well known for an ongoing series of photographs and videos entitled Thoughts on Romance from the Road, which explore text interactions with historic and abandoned movie marquee signs as well as motels and a selection of random road signs. "The work addresses the private self existing in public and positions the act of driving, as well as exposure to the advertising media as entertainment while driving, as its own unique form of existence and consumption within American culture."


Other recent work is an exploration of the adaptation to consumer culture by the Russian Federation and how it is faring within the complex global economic picture of the early 21st century. Crayhon is examining these phenomena in the regions of Russia that were completely inaccessible to outsiders until the mid 1990's. The photographs in this series were made over a six-month period on a Fulbright Scholarship/Residency in the Far East region of Russia. The artist was based in Vladivostok, approximately four thousand miles east of Moscow, home of the Russian Pacific fleet, the terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and for most of the 20th century, totally closed off not only to foreigners but to other Russians as well.


Russia became a subject of inquiry for a few reasons.  This was "the Evil Empire" to Crayhon's generation of Americans.  The threat of "nuclear annihilation by the Russians" was a contemporary phobia.  However, upon reflection on her part, Russia was not an enemy at all; to a large extent it functioned as a point of comparison and vehicle for self-regard by Americans. Besides trying to outdo each other as the perceived superpower of the planet, Crayhon remembers an intense American interest, obsession almost, in all things Russian: art, technology, sports teams and athletes, weapons, rockets and astronauts, scientists, technology and industry, ballet dancers, spies, KGB, and so on.  With all of this they were not simply our official competitors, they were a sort of inverse mirror to Americans and had a great deal of influence upon how we saw ourselves.


Victoria Crayhon holds an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and an honors degree from New York University, BFA in Photography.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship (2011) the RISCA Aaron Siskind Fellowship in Photography (2010 and 2006) and a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Award in New Genres (2007). Her work is held in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, MA, among others.

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