When artist and Brock University professor Amy Friend was contacted by the assistant artistic director of The New York Times magazine inviting her to collaborate on an article, she was immediately intrigued.
Friend, Chair and Associate Professor of Visual Arts (VISA), was struck by the enduring nature of the piece’s theme – focused on loss – written by author Meg Bernhard, and was thrilled to be commissioned for her photography by the weekly publication boasting 4.4 million print readers and a digital readership of 7.7 million.
The article “What If Closure Didn’t Exist” discusses the work of social scientist and scholar Pauline Boss on various types of loss. Specifically, the 87-year-old researcher is well known for her “ambiguous loss” theory developed in the 1970s with roots in family psychology.
Boss’s academic research on the subject has seen a resurgence in relevance and popularity given world events in recent years, including the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated trauma and loss suffered by many, often without the ability to cry and cry as was done before in many cultures.
Friend said the “ambiguous loss” frame resonated with her due to her recent inability to communicate with her father after a stroke.
“This commission bridged my personal experience as loss is not necessarily specific to death,” she said.
Friend worked collaboratively with the art director and thoroughly enjoyed the creative editorial process.
“It was especially engaging for me, because creating art can sometimes be a lonely process,” she said. “I have reflected on the conversations and responded to comments from the NYT Magazine team.”
Engaging in this type of professional process refers to the classroom for Friend, as such collaborations introduce students to the possibilities of integrating fine art practice with mainstream media. It also shows budding student artists the importance of getting paid for the creative work they do.
“Creative practice enters the world in multiple ways. It fits into the cultural sector, has a place in the economy and is an essential component of societal interaction,” Friend said.
In addition to the New York Times ReviewFriend recently featured his work in Aesthetic Magazine of his works “Tiny Tears Fill An Ocean and Multi-verse“, and Museum magazinea photography magazine with a section devoted to women in photography.
Friend has international exhibitions coming up this spring in Paris at the In Camera Gallery and the Bildhalle Gallery in Amsterdam. In June (pending travel restrictions), her work will be presented at the Ricami Gallery in Trapani, Sicily, where she has been invited to give an artist talk to local communities. This wouldn’t be his first introduction to Sicilian culture; it has works of art in the permanent collection of the Orestiadi Foundation in Gibellina.