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Indepth Arts News:

"Local Color: Six Contemporary Photographers"
2001-03-03 until 2001-05-13
Portland Museum of Art
Portland, ME, USA

On March 3, 2001, the Portland Museum of Art will debut the exhibition Local Color: Six Contemporary Photographers featuring more than 40 works by six of Maine’s most important photographers working in color. This special exhibition highlights new work by Paul D'Amato, Tanja Alexia Hollander, Jocelyn Lee, Rose Marasco, Melville McLean, and Scott Peterman, displaying the range and depth of contemporary explorations of the art of color photography. The exhibition will be on view until May 13, 2001.

For most of its history as an art form, color photography has been viewed with suspicion. While color film was available as early as the mid-1930s, it was not widely used in art until the late 1960s. Early pioneers in color, like Ernst Haas and Eliot Porter, expanded the public's understanding of the role color can play in building a photographic image, yet it was a long time before color photography was fully accepted in artistic circles. With a few exceptions, the most recognized figures in photography have shot in black-and-white, and some people still consider black-and-white photography more artistic than color, which is often dubbed as commercial. Color photography gained wider acceptance during the 1980s, as more sensitive films and methods of printing were developed, and photographers began to experiment more widely with the aesthetics of color. Now, at the start of the new millennium, color photography has become an important part of contemporary art worldwide.

In keeping with the strength of the photographic community in the state, there is a significant amount of color photography being made in Maine. These works include diverse approaches and subjects, such as Tanja Alexia Hollander's painterly color abstractions, Melville McLean's expansive yet finely-detailed views of the natural world, Paul D'Amato's sensitively formal yet emotionally powerful images of people in their environments, Scott Peterman's quiet tone poems combining landscape and architecture, Jocelyn Lee's searing portraits revealing the inner lives of women, and Rose Marasco's jewel-like arrangements of domestic objects that evoke centuries of women's history. Local Color highlights the variety of methods and uses for color in photography through recent work by some of the outstanding photographers currently living and working in Maine.

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