FOR THE last eight years, artist Kelli Connell ’03 has retraced the life of Charis Wilson, best known as a model and the former wife of famed modernist photographer Edward Weston. Connell explores the artist-sitter relationship by photographing her own partner in the same locations where Weston depicted his then-wife.
This year, Connell won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for her project “Pictures for Charis.” She plans to produce a book and three museum exhibitions of her work in 2024.
“Having work recognized by the Guggenheim Foundation is a tremendous honor,” Connell said. “I will use the 2022 fellowship year to continue making work for the project ‘Pictures for Charis.’ I feel a wealth of gratitude for this opportunity, and for everyone who has supported the project along the way.”
Connell credits TWU, especially Susan kae Grant, Cornaro Professor of Visual Arts Emerita, with shaping her career.
“Working with Susan was such a gift,” said Connell, now a professor and graduate program director of the Photography department at Columbia College Chicago. “Susan organized her classes by creating a sense of community where everyone had an equal voice, and she really influenced how I teach my courses today.”
“TWU is a place that encourages students to work diligently on their fine art practices and to become confident in who they are as artists,” Connell said.