Lorie Novak

(1954) American


Lorie Novak was born in Los Angeles and received a B.A. in art and psychology from Stanford University in 1975. After completing an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979, she began exhibiting photographs that depicted rooms filled with colored light and slide-projected images of shadows, light patterns, and landscapes. The character of the installations she photographed changed over time as she projected slides of family photographs onto empty, white studio spaces, and in 1987, onto landscapes at night. Other works of the 1980s and 1990s included Critical Distance, Traces, Playback, and Collected Visions, in which the slide-projected installations she had previously used as raw material for her photographs became her final works. In 1996, Novak launched Collected Visions on the internet ( Visitors can donate family snapshots to the site's archive of more than 1,200 images or create sequenced "exhibitions" of pictures from that resource. Her work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and ICP, and she has received a number of grants and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She teaches photography at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Although the source material and method of presentation have changed, Lorie Novak's work has continually explored personal and cultural memory. Her installations and photographs encourage viewers to investigate their own history and family relationships by transforming rooms, landscapes, and cyberspace into spaces of the mind. By acknowledging memory's foundation in imagery and casting its presence onto areas in the contemporary world, Novak's art demonstrates the importance of recognizing our own individual and cultural history.
Lisa Hostetler

Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 224.
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