The University of Toledo Department of Art faculty member awarded Ohio Arts Council grant

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 by: Angela Riddel | Category: Arts and Entertainment

Deborah Orloff, associate chair and professor of photography with the University of Toledo Department of Art, has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for her body of work, “Elusive Memory.” In addition, her project was featured this week online at “Aint—Bad,” an independent publisher of new photographic art. The Excellence awards “are peer recognition of artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community. These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.” Ms. Orloff says the $5,000 grant will be used to expand her “Elusive Memory” series and to exhibit it nationally. The work was inspired by an experience she had following the death of her father in 2007, when she was preparing a eulogy for his funeral. While drawing upon specific memories, she realized all of them were directly connected to photographs, causing her to wonder “if I remembered these moments at all, or if the pictures had created false memories. I wanted to make work about this phenomenon, but the project didn’t actually take form until many years later. About 5 years ago, I inherited thousands of neglected prints and slides that had been in my father’s basement where they were damaged by flooding. I started photographing them in the studio, not knowing what I would do with the images, but hoping to salvage some of the family pictures for posterity. It wasn’t until I saw them enlarged on a computer screen that I recognized their poignancy and greater relevance; I saw metaphors for loss and the fragmentary, ephemeral nature of memory.” “My new work utilizes these severely damaged pictures as subject matter. ‘Elusive Memory’ explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details.” “Elusive Memory” is currently on exhibit in Lincoln, NE at Workspace Gallery: Upcoming exhibitions include Youngstown State University’s Solomon Gallery in Ohio, Vincennes University’s Shircliff Gallery in Indiana, and Anna Maria College’s Art Center Gallery in Massachusetts. Samples of Orloff’s work can also be seen at

Press Release Contact Name: Angela Riddel
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Organization Name: The University of Toledo