Jennifer Ray

Assistant Professor

MFA, Photography, Columbia College Chicago, 2010
BA, Studio Arts, Oberlin College, 2007

Jennifer Ray’s photographic work is including in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Kinsey Institute, and has been exhibited at the RISD Museum of Art, the Chelsea Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Hyde Park Art Center, and Chicago Cultural Center, among other venues. Her work was included in the Collector's Guide to New Art Photography, published by Humble Arts Foundation. She received a Follett Fellowship from Columbia College and a Community Arts Assistance Program Grant from the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, and was awarded a residency at ACRE. Prior to coming to WSU, she taught at Oberlin College, Columbia College, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Her work explores the intersections between human activity and the natural landscape, with a particular emphasis on marginal subcultures. Broadly speaking, she is most interested in delving into the relationships we have with nature, how landscape can influence our culture, and understanding fundamental human needs and desires. This has included long-term projects revolving around the diverse subjects of urban homelessness, gay cruising, and shooting ranges. She is currently developing projects about 4-wheeling competitions and contemporary Paganism.

Teaching Statement:
I view arts education as fundamental to a well-functioning society, and in light of this I seek to help my students become inventive, critical, and productive citizens. In my courses, my primary objective is to help students develop intellectually and artistically autonomous work while fostering an energetic classroom community. Through discussion of readings and artwork, thoughtful critique, collaborative exercises, slide lectures and field trips, I challenge students to cultivate their own lines of artistic inquiry into the formal, technical, and conceptual issues that most interest them. As a result, my students learn to how to appreciate, understand, and assess works by others while gaining insight into how to create work that is expressive and communicative.

Ultimately I see my role in the classroom as a guide and a facilitator. In each class, I strive to put into place an infrastructure that allows students to drive their own learning. My most fundamental goal is always to prepare a student to enter into the broader art world with an ability to decipher the work they encounter and make relevant products themselves. To this end I put great effort into educating both myself and my students about technical developments and artistic movements. In classes, we consider how lens-based media has dramatically changed in the last decade, and I push students to reflect those changes in their work.

(316) 978-7711
Office: McKnight Art Center (West) Room 306