Last week I returned from a five day trip to Arizona for the opening of the Rfotofolio show Depth of Field. This was held at the beautiful non-profit photo-center Art Intersection, in Gilbert, AZ.
The show and the associated events were so well organised by Connie and Jerry of Rfotofolio and Alan Fitzgerald and his team at Art Intersection.
On the Friday evening there was a roundtable discussion between many of the photographers in the show, gallery directors and curators, around the theme of professional sustainability, moderated by Becky Senf of the Center for Creative Photography. Saturday evening was the opening which was great fun, but tiring. Lots of wonderful questions were asked of everyone’s work, and we got to meet old friends and new.
Photo by Rfotofolio.
Photo by Rfotofolio.
Jennifer Schlesinger and myself — Photo by Rfotofolio.
Impending Storm, Saguaro National Park.
Saguaro National Park
On Sunday I drove down to Saguaro National Park, near Tucson. After hiking halfway up a mountain trail in the heat, I decided that the thunderstorm I could see developing in the far distance was indeed getting closer. The lightning was the turning point for me. Within minutes of getting back to the car and driving I got caught up in a small dust storm but then the torrential rain started. After making it back slowly to Gilbert via flooded roads and slow moving freeways, I was ready to meet up with the others for a drink and dinner. We made it into the restaurant just as the rain and wind started again. Monsoon season in Arizona.
Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.
Dust storm, near Saguaro National Park.
Rain storm, Saguaro National Park.
Center for Creative Photography
On the Monday a small group of us drove down to the Center for Creative Photography, in Tucson. We met with an assistant curator, Andrew Kensett, and Jennifer Jae Gutierrez, a conservator at the center, to look at about 40 prints – iconic images of photography – that had been pulled from the archives.
In no preferential order there were prints by Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ruth Bernard, André Kertész, Margrethe Mather and Sonya Noskowiak.
Seeing these prints, unglazed and in some cases with the mat lifted to reveal the entire print and its support, and under nice soft lighting, was amazing. Two prints stood out for me that I hadn’t expected to. One by Edward Weston, Contraband Bayou, Louisiana, 1941 and the other by Brett Weston, Cities Service Refinery, 1956. Both these prints I had seen before, but only in books. The print by Edward Weston has so much depth and detail that is lost in books and the refinery image by Brett is so luminous and metallic. Spectacular. And the intimate Harry Callahan prints, Eleanor, Chicago, 1949 and Cattails Against Sky, 1948 renewed my love for his work.
The one print that did disappoint (can I even say that about one of the masters?) was Aaron Siskind’s Jerome, Arizona 21, 1949. At just over 18″ x 13″, it was the largest print there and much softer, greyer and flatter than I would have imagined it to be. Exactly the reverse experience of the Weston’s.
The Center for Creative Photography print room. Yes, I did ask permission to take photographs!
For anyone working with alternative/historical processes, there’s a call for work at Brass and Bellows. The show, an Alternative, is juried by Cy DeCosse and the deadline is February 4th, 2013 with the chosen works being exhibited from April 1st through May 3rd, 2013.
Brass and Bellows, 101, Judd Street, (#4), Marine on St. Croix, MN 554047.
September and October are going to be busier than ever, so here are several things that are happening over the next couple of months. There’s also ‘one more thing’ that I’m excited about, but I can’t say anything about that yet…
POLYMER PHOTOGRAVURE WORKSHOP
In October I’ll be teaching a 2.5 day workshop at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, using the polymer photogravure process. We’ll start on Thursday evening by looking at prints, discussing the differences between copperplate and polymer gravure and how to make the digital film positives using an Epson inkjet printer. Then on Saturday, we’ll expose and process the plates ready for a full day’s printing on Sunday.
The class size is limited to 8 participants. More information can be found here.
Thursday, October 11th, 6pm – 9pm and Saturday and Sunday, October 13th and 14th, 9am – 4pm.
Highpoint Center for Printmaking
912, West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Telephone (612) 871-1326
The opening reception is Thursday, October 18th, 6 – 8pm and the event is free and open to the public. The show runs between October 16th and November 17th, 2012.
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota
405, 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455
A SENSE OF PLACE IN ARTIST BOOKS
There is also a companion exhibition A Sense of Place in Artist Books, that runs from October 12th to December 12th, 2012 at the ALA Library Gallery, Room 210, Rapson Hall. This exhibition has been curated by Karen Kinoshita and the opening is on Friday, October 19th, 6.30 – 8.30pm.
2011-2012 McKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIP EXHIBITION
The work of the four 2011-2012 McKnight fellows is also on show at the Rochester Art Center, between September 14th, 2012 and January 6th, 2013.
Beth Dow uses historical references and traditional photographic processes to address our use of land and experience of time. Her current project, ‘Here, Nor There,’ employs tongue-in-cheek conceptualism to cross-reference historical and local architectural landscapes which re-imagine history and space.
Peter Happel Christian’s work investigates social relationships with the natural landscape using photography, but operating within a broader practice which integrates performative events, sculptural objects, as well as science, philosophy, and history to create connections and disconnections with the natural world.
James Henkel’s new body of photographs, LAB WORK, is a continuation of his interest in studio based still-life photography. Using vessels found in a chemistry classroom as subject matter, these works distance objects from their intended functionality by representing them as abstract formal arrangements that explore the relationship between art and science.
Colleen Mullins’ most recent work explores her sense of memory, family, and place through revisiting and documenting sites along the West Coast, recharting her family’s histories and creating new personal meaning.
The opening reception is on Friday, September 14th, 2012 at 7pm. For those in Minneapolis, a shuttle will run from the Walker Art Center to the Rochester Art Center. More information on that can be found here.
On the way to Santa Fe this week I stopped at the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque to see the exhibition Reconsidering the Photographic Masterpiece. What immediately grabbed my attention was how much depth the silver prints had, especially this image by Paul Caponigro. The stones in this image glowed. The next day I visited the Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe and vintage silver prints by Caponigro, Weston, Adams (Ansel and Robert), Friedlander and Lange were crammed into every conceivable space in that house. Of course I love photogravure and platinum-palladium prints, but the smoothness and luminescence of these glossy silver prints made me want to start working in silver again.