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senior bfa photo students open back-to-back exhibitions at usu projects gallery

Feb 21, 2023

Exhibitions of photographic works by Utah State University BFA seniors Victoria Johnson and Bailey Rigby will be featured at USU’s Projects Gallery Feb. 20-24 and Feb. 27-March 3.

Victoria Johnson, from the series “The body is only a vessel”

The first exhibition, “Victoria Johnson: the body is only a vessel,” features photographs documenting funeral homes as liminal spaces that reflect both the mundanity of death and the implied tension between the present and the afterlife.

Victoria Johnson is a Brazilian multidisciplinary artist whose photographs investigate suburban spaces, memory, and how people interact with their surrounding landscapes. Inspired by the unique relationship between the funeral professionals, grieving customers, and the commercial spaces used for rites of sepulture, Johnson has photographed sites of grieving including chapels, viewing rooms, and cemeteries across Cache and Box Elder counties.

Bailey Rigby, from the series “The Study of Last Things”

Following Johnson’s exhibition, “Bailey Rigby: The Study of Last Things” will feature photographs exploring indoctrination and identity and the particular pressures of family tradition and LDS church doctrine.

“While the LDS Church is now one of the largest organized religions in the United States, many members are stepping away due to conflicting political and moral beliefs, as well as doctrinal and experiential dilemmas,” Rigby says. “Through ‘The Study of Last Things’ I voice my own personal experiences of isolation and self-discovery in my apostasy.”

Rigby is a fine art photographer originally from Oklahoma. Her work embraces storytelling through an autobiographical approach that is grounded in archival, iconographic, and experiential research.

“At USU Photo, we are guided in our belief in photography’s critical role in contemporary culture, and Victoria and Bailey’s work reflects that ideal through their thoughtful visual research and meaningful storytelling,” says Jared Ragland, Assistant Professor and Photography Area Coordinator. “Whether documenting how and where we process grief or illustrating the matters of family and faith, each of their projects succeed in doing what great art should do by translating the universal to the personal and providing a platform for viewers to consider–and perhaps even challenge–social customs and beliefs.”

Johnson and Rigby will share their work via a “takeover” of the USU Photo Instagram account (@USUPhoto) during their exhibitions.

The USU Projects Gallery serves as an adaptive platform for USU students, faculty, and community to engage teaching, research, and visual art practices. The gallery is located on the ground floor of the USU Fine Arts Building and is open from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

For questions contact Projects Gallery coordinator Antra Sinha at

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