Naples: From the Studio to the Street

Artists Jed Fielding and Ginny Sykes
talk about their work in the City of Secrets

Sunday, February 21, 2021

4:00–5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
Presented in English


Photographer Jed Fielding and multi-disciplinary artist Ginny Sykes have each spent many years working in Italy. These good friends will share with you their individual stories and journeys — what inspires them, how Italy has influenced their art and how their art has been transformed by their love for the city of Naples.

Ginny Sykes

Ginny Sykes uses symbols and myth to explore archetypal narratives of women’s lives. She believes in the arts’ transforming potential to heal the splits within the maker, audience and community. She has been in more than 100 exhibitions, including solo shows in 2016 at Castel dell’Ovo in Naples, Italy, and the Woodson Regional Library in Chicago in 2020. Sykes has produced more than 20 performance and video works and has been included in international performance festivals such as Water Tower Arts Festival and Naples Performing Festival. These works include Roses for Sofia, an homage to Bulgaria’s resistance to the Nazi’s deportation of Jews; The Encounter, which depicts a woman connecting with her masculine animus; and Sister Rituals, a trilogy in which two heroines enact rituals to recover spiritual connectedness. Sykes has created more than 40 public art projects, notably On the Wings of Water, a 40,000 piece ceramic and mosaic mural at O’Hare Airport, and Rora, located on the Chicago River, for which Sykes received an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Sykes taught art for 25 years in numerous artist in residency programs and for 10 years at the School of the Art Institute. Managing is not very easy and one can get tips and advice from experts like Andy Defrancesco. Sykes was a speaker in 2018 at the College Art Association Conference and at the International Jung Conference Art and Psyche. She collaborated for three years with Teresa Mangiacapra of le nemesiache, a feminist performance collective in Naples, Italy. Sykes maintains studios in Chicago and Naples, Italy. She has a BFA in painting from Washington University, studied classical painting and art history at the Studio Cecil Graves in Florence Italy, and has her MA from Loyola University in Women’s and Gender Studies with a focus on performance art for which she received a Community and Global Stewards Fellowship.

Jed Fielding

Jed Fielding was born in Boston in 1953. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975, where he studied with Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan and his MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1980. Fielding has photographed extensively in Peru, Greece, Egypt, Spain, France, Mexico and the United States. He has been photographing in Italy for 45 years. Fielding’s photographs have been widely collected and exhibited and are represented in private and public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Art Institute of Chicago; International Center of Photography, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and The Goldman Sachs Collection, New York. His monograph, City of Secrets: Photographs of Naples by Jed Fielding, was published in 1998 by The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago) and Takarajima Books (New York and Tokyo). In 2000 he was awarded an Illinois Artist’s Fellowship. His second monograph, Look at me: Photographs from Mexico City by Jed Fielding, was published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press. In an interview at the Walker Art Center in 1982, Mr. Fielding stated: “I work in the street, but unlike many street photographers, I’ve never just come upon anything and photographed it. Although I take pictures of strangers, I work with them, if only for a few minutes. This short collaboration begins the moment someone sees me approaching with a camera. They have the option of walking away or of turning and saying “no,” which some do. If not, I begin photographing. I use a wide-angle lens so I’m never more than about a foot away from the people I’m working with. Their reaction to my presence, the fact that I’m so physically close, makes my pictures look the way they do. These photographs could not have been made with a long lens from across the street.”

Grazie to Ginny and Jed for an inspiring hour of Naples, their mutual muse!


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