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Bio and CV


Syl Arena (born Phoenix, Arizona) is a California-based artist known for his explorations of non-representational photography. He freely admits that he is addicted to color and shadow. In his current series, Constructed Voids, Arena deconstructs white light into vibrant hues and mixes them onto monochromatic constructs. Through the intersection of light, construct, and lens, Arena finds transformative relationships that he describes as “inner landscapes.”

Arena is also greatly interested in commenting on the loss of the image-object in our screen-based world. Increasingly he positions his photographs as objects rather than merely as images. To this end, the Constructed Voids are hung as bare sheets of chromogenic paper in a manner that bends the prints outward from the wall and allows them to undulate gently.

Arena earned an MFA from Lesley University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona). He has taught workshops for Maine Media Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, and at events in Brazil, Canada, Cuba, and Dubai.




2019       LA Open 2019, TAG Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Magnus Opus 30,* Sacramento Fine Arts Center, Sacramento, CA

Sixth Open Call,* Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Providence, RI

* upcoming exhibition

2018      Abstracts 2018, 311 Gallery, Raleigh, NC

Color Cue, CENTR, Santa FE, NM

Contemporary Photography 2018, CICA Museum, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

Faculty Exhibition, Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Kromatik, Praxis Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2017       Color Photography Now, Blackbox Gallery, Portland, OR

EAFA Juried Abstract Show, Evergreen Association of Fine Arts, Bellevue, WA

Good Bokeh, DAB Art / H Gallery, Ventura, CA

LA Artcore 1st Annual Photographic Exhibition, LA Artcore, Los Angeles, CA

Left Coast Annual, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA

Light Sensitive 2017, Art Intersection, Gilbert, AZ

MWCP Juried Exhibition, Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita, KS

New Visions 2017, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, CA

Order and Chaos Chautauqua National Juried Exhibition, Giles Gallery, Richmond, KY

Photowork 2017, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

Visions of Cuba, Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

2016       Aperture Summer Open: Photography Is Magic, Aperture Foundation, New York, NY



2017–2018       Penumbra Workspace Program, Penumbra Foundation, New York, NY



2017       Todd Walker Research Fellowship, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ




2015       Speedliter’s Handbook, Second Edition, Peachpit Press

2013       Lighting for Digital Photography, Peachpit Press

2010       Speedliter’s Handbook, Peachpit Press



2018–present       West Valley College, San Luis Obispo, CA

2017–present       Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

2013–present       Mission College Prep, San Luis Obispo, CA



2014–present       Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Missoula, MT

2012–2015            Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe, NM

2011–2014            Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, ME



MFA      Visual Arts—Photography, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

BFA       Studio Art—Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ


DETAILED C.V. >  Syl Arena Detailed CV rev 190120