Denise Prince and Charles Merward

Captivating, Not Captive (2009 - 2022): Enabling Desire

curated by Apama Mackey Gallery A.M.P.S.

Thursday through Sunday eleven AM to six PM


Saturday, October 22, noon to two

Drop in conversation with model Kechi Okwuchi and Denise Prince

Saturday, October 29, six to nine PM

BLACK BALL closing reception with new beauty fashion performance and cocktails

The corps of fashion speaks what wants to be said


at Bill Arning Exhibitions
604 West Alabama

Houston, Texas 77006



                                                                                                                                    QR link to order exhibition catalog 



Catalogs from the exhibition include over eighty photographs by artist Denise Prince and incisive, elegant thinking (text) by philosopher and psychoanalyst Charles Merward. This chronologically arranged volume of images exceeds the limitations of available wall space in the gallery to allow the visual language to be more fully expressed. With QR code links to conversations on the series, people who donate $55 will receive a copy of Captivating, Not Captive (2009 - 2022): Enabling Desire and get access to the moving life stories and advanced perspectives on life by the models (in their own voices) and the makers of this groundbreaking work. To continue to advance the in person events with the subjects of this series please donate any amount.


Captivating, Not Captive (2009 - 2022) : Enabling Desire

Denise Prince and Charles Merward fill the space between psycho-analysis’ disclosures and enactments with art, neither illustrative nor semantic but an exemplary meditation on the role of  the body image in the defense against fundamental anxiety. Prince’s images create a conceptual mirrorless camera through which the viewers sees a direct, live view of the specular double before its capture. Unlike the fashion photography with which she began, however, the uncanny doppelgänger forecloses any romantic fantasy and instead retains its traumatic core as raw identification with the other, without any symbolic mediation. Prince’s images demonstrate the enigmatic experience in which one doesn’t know who one is anymore, in which she doubts her own ego and substitutes her reflection with a stranger. Prince’s secret is revealed as her models reflect the viewer’s gaze: I am No One anymore. This artist’s purpose is to unveil the body as a hole, a dismembered space that emancipates the viewer from her image so she is not captive to its auto-eroticism. Ultimately, Prince succeeds in elegantly if brutally conveying her thoughts and meaning and in the tradition of Magritte and Kosuth, stimulating knowledge by the acquaintance.

as part of the FotoFest Biennial 2022
If I Had a Hammer
taking place September 24–November 6, 2022

FotoFest is pleased to reveal the artistic concept and title of its 19th international biennial exhibition. Titled, If I Had a Hammer, the FotoFest Biennial 2022 takes place September 24–November 6, 2022 in Houston, Texas at Sawyer Yards and throughout the city of Houston. The exhibition and its related public programs are co-curated and organized by Steven Evans, Max Fields, and Amy Sadao with curatorial advisory support from Julie Ault, Nora N. Khan, and Jeanne Vaccaro.

The FotoFest Biennial 2022 central exhibition, If I Had a Hammer, considers the ways in which artists utilize images to unpack the ideological underpinnings that inspire collective cultural movements around the globe, at a moment when social beliefs and political imaginaries are becoming dogma at the tap of a button and the click of a shutter. The exhibition addresses the role of images in the construction, representation, reception, and repression of global social movements and political ideologies. A diverse range of image-based practices are represented: activists and photo-documentarians, research-based artists and collectives, filmmakers and performance artists, and artists working within social practice. The included artists expose, through diverse methods, the potential of images to support progressive movements, as well as their ability to oppress marginalized and at-risk populations. If I had a Hammer highlights strategies that artists employ to create archives that subvert the hegemonic anthropological and documentary gaze, play against traditional forms from portraiture to landscape photography, and imagine alternative political scenarios while turning over an insistence on a finished, final, or decisive image.