Rahshia Sawyer

Photography | USA

Rahshia Sawyer (1976) is a conceptual photographer based in the Washington DC area. She was the 2012 recipient of the Contemporary Talents award from France’s François Schneider Foundation. 

“Beauty anchors us to our humanity; it acts as the balance between reality and fantasy. “

Artworks

Portrait

Rahshia Sawyer (1976) is a conceptual photographer based in the Washington DC area. She was the 2012 recipient of the Contemporary Talents award from France’s François Schneider Foundation. Exhibited in the 2012 Inaugural Dublin Biennial, her photographs and installations have been included in numerous group shows in Canada, England, France, Ireland, Spain, and the United States. Her work is in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s permanent collections, Foundation François Schneider, and Radford University Museum.

More recently, she received the 2020 Honorable Mention from the International Photography Awards. She received her MFA from George Mason University in Virginia and her BFA at the Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington DC. Her current projects examine the balanced (or imbalanced) relationship between beauty and chaos.

Beauty anchors us to our humanity; it acts as the balance between reality and fantasy. Our experience of the world is not static; it is a compilation of layers. Maturing over time, we add layers upon layers, becoming ridged but never finite. An inquiry into the existential questions of our reality, identity, and beliefs lead us to examine layers of significant transition. When we passed from the known to the unknown, this time is described by many as a sensation of floating, being disconnected from their reality.

“My work contrasts this Daedalian journey with figurative photographs, the subject disconnected from the ground signifying their transforming reality. Each composition is selected to be neutral, that sliver of space between positive and negative. Allowing the works abstract quality to be informed by the viewer, recreating a singular struggle with our emotions — an experience we all share.”

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Credentials

Solo exhibitions

2018

Invisible Listeners: Signature Gallery Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

2017     

Within the im/balance, The Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas & Prince William County, VA

Some Things I Can’t Explain, ArtSpace Herndon, Herndon, VA

2016     

Some Things I Can’t Explain, Craddock-Terry Gallery, Lynchburg, VA

2014     

Then you weren’t, Workhouse Art Center, Lorton VA 

Some Things I Can’t Explain, MFA Thesis Show, George Mason University (catalog)

2013     

Subversion, Greenbelt Community Art Center, Greenbelt MD

 

Education

2014     

MFA Art and Visual Technology School of Art George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

2004   

BFA Photography Corcoran College of Art + Design Washington DC

1996     

AA Humanities, Foreign Languages College of the Redwoods Eureka, CA

Group exhibitions

2021

Undertow, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands

2018     

EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA

ASPIRE, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (catalog)

2016   

Berlin Foto Biennale 2016: Palazzo Italia, Berlin

2014     

Contemporary Talent 2012, François Schneider Foundation, Wattwiller France

Dealing with Trauma through Art Making, Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA

Positive ID: Bodies & Subjectivities in Photography: NOVA-Woodbridge, Woodbridge, VA

Artifex: GMU Graduate Student Exhibit: Capital One Corp. Art Program, Richmond, VA

2nd Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)

2013     

Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC

Common Pulse Festival: Intersecting Abilities, Durham Art Gallery, Ontario Canada

ACADEMY 2013: Annual MFA / BFA Invitational, CONNORSMITH, Washington DC

EMERGE: Center Gallery, Wichita, KA

Humans Being II: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)

Body and Brain: Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalog)

1st Annual GMU MFA Exhibit: GMU School of Art, VA (catalog)

2012     

Artomatic 2012, Crystal City, VA

The Surrealist Influence on Contemporary Photography, Austin, TX

Hickok Cole: WPA, Washington, DC

2011      

Graduate Student Exhibition: GMU School of Art, VA

Collections

  • Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
  • François Schneider Foundation
  • Radford University Museum, Radford VA

 

Awards

2020   

Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)

2017     

Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)

2016     

Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)

Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)

2015     

Finalist, 8th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award

Honorable Mention, Jax Exhibition

Honorable Mention, Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA)

Semi-Finalist, The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards

2nd Place, EMULSION 2015

2014     

Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards (IPA)

Honorable Mention, Prix de la Photographie (Px3)

Best in Show, WATERGIRL, Artzibs Gallery

Academic and Artistic Excellence, George Mason University

2013     

Grand Prix Juror Award of Merit, International Fine Art Photography Competition

Contemporary Talent 2012, Photography Category, François Schneider Foundation

Gold Medal Award San Francisco International Photography Exhibition

2nd Place, Fine Art Photography Competition 2013

Juror’s Choice Award, Open Water!

Leadership Award, ODIME 2013 Vision Awards

EMERGE Fellowship Award, 2013 Midwest Photo Emerge

2012     

First Place, 1st Annual Radford Photography Exhibition

Purchase Award, Art Comes Alive