Indepth Arts News: |
"IN PRAISE OF NATURE: ANSEL ADAMS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE AMERICAN WEST"
2000-06-03 until 2000-08-13
Orlando Museum of Art
USA United States of America
This nationally touring exhibition explores
nature’s spiritual influence on photographers
working in Western America between 1860
and 1950. Billowing clouds enshrouding
mountain tops, towering pines shading
wildflowers, jagged cliffs overlooking deep
canyons – these are images of the American
West, which have been a source of inspiration
for photographers since they first ventured
west of the Mississippi. On display are more
than 130 rare photographs that have captured
the essence of the American West during this
time. In Praise of Nature shares the
perspective of photography masters Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, William
Henry Jackson, Eadweard Muybridge, Imogen Cunningham and many other
greats. There are a significant number of vintage prints featured, which are
works printed by the artist at the time the image was created.
During the 19th Century, photographers celebrated the unrealized potential and
glory of the western landscape. Works by 19th-Century photographers
including William Henry Jackson, Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge and
George Fiske provide the setting for photography’s venture into the West.
With the turn of the century, photographers portrayed the West as an
endangered wilderness, threatened by urbanization. 20th-Century luminaries
include Arthur Rothstein, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham.
Carlton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan and William Henry Jackson were
pioneers in the documentation of westward expansion. Ansel Adams,
considered by many to be the most popular and important photographer in
America, took this legacy, and along with Group f/64 contemporaries, created
some of today’s most widely recognized and memorable photographic images
of nature. He gave dramatic interpretations of rugged,
intricate beauty found in the Western landscape. Not
only will visitors have the opportunity to view many of
Adams’ well-loved classic, monumental views of the
American West, such as White House Ruins and
Winter Sunrise, but also featured are his more intimate,
less-often-seen images of cacti and oaks.
Adams and his contemporaries portrayed the natural
beauty of the West in ways that moved beyond the
norm. The gritty, realistic renderings of their
predecessors and the soft unfocused styles of the
Pictoralist were replaced with bold, sharp, focused
images by pioneers such as Paul Strand and Alfred
Stieglitz, that expressed views of nature with an
imaginative eye. Through the work of Strand, Stieglitz
and Group f/64, photography gained acceptance as an
expressive art by the middle of the 20th Century.
Adams’s keen artistic vision and technical proficiency became a foundation for
a highly successful 70-year career, in which he produced more than 40,000
negatives and 10,000 fine prints that were included in 500 international
exhibitions and numerous books.