Will May earned his MFA in 2005 in Photography and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University, and his BA in Drawing and Printmaking from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, in 1986. In 2006 he helped make the film World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements about the World Peace Game by John Hunter. As Exhibition Director from 2006 to 2010 he helped build the non-profit LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph.
May’s primary focus is the folding, mixing, and inference of narrative using photography, drawing, installation, and performance. He lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Narrative takes a more ambiguous form in Will May’s photographs. In some works, pairs of apparently unrelated images provide clues to a story which the viewer must invent. In others, single images provide contradictory information – a mattress in an open field suggests any number of narratives, as does a photograph of an elegantly dressed couple about to disappear down a strange white tunnel that looks like an esophagus.
– Eleanor Heartney
These photographs present themselves like paintings if only for their size, but May’s painterly tact extends beyond his photographs format. Especially where figures are set against pure nature, May conjures images reminiscent of Winslow Homer though with an existential edge. And in every instance, movement of subject matter during exposure that produces blurry or fuzzy areas presents itself as the photographer’s version of loose brushwork. Even the edges of each photograph are left to reveal how each picture bleeds into the frame. This results in layers of tone that appear to shift and slide much as in Homer’s late watercolors.
– Paulette Roberts-Pullen
In Will May’s photographs I keep feeling like someone just left. Someone was moving a television, someone just changed the channel, or someone shouted my name. There was a person there, I am certain. And then we walk away from the picture and something is following us into the bathroom as we look at the logo for the Capitol Stall Door Company.
– Ryan Mulligan
contact: will [at] willmay [dot] com