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“Picture Gallery of the Soul” Exhibit at the Katherine Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota.

Picture Galley of the Soul Exhibition

A Picture Gallery of the Soul, is a group exhibition of over 100 Black American artists whose practice incorporates the photographic medium. Sampling a range of photographic expressions from traditional photography to mixed media and conceptual art and spanning a timeframe that includes the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, the exhibition honors, celebrates, investigates, and interprets Black history, culture, and politics in the United States.

Curatorial Team
Herman J. Milligan, Jr. and Howard Oransky started working on this exhibit in 2016. We asked Howard Oransky, the Director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery,  if he would share the background story of the exhibit and some of the special challenges they faced.  His answers are below.
Herman J. Milligan Jr.
Herman J. Milligan Jr.
Howard Oransky
Howard Oransky

Background

In 2016 I contacted my colleague Herman J. Milligan, Jr. and invited him to join the project with me as co-curator.  Herman is a collector and curator of photography, with a special interest in Black photographers. He is President of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. In addition to his work co-curating the exhibition and organizing the related events, Herman also curated a Soundscape comprised of over 100 musical selections, each one chosen in relationship to a specific image in the exhibition catalogue. It is a massive undertaking. You can listen to the Soundscape on the headphones in the center of the gallery, and we published the Soundscape playlist as part of the gallery guide, which is free and available to the gallery visitors.

How did the idea for the exhibit start?

In January 2014 I received an email from Jim Gubernick, who is an artist and the Facilities Manager at the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota. The Regis Center for Art is home to the Department of Art and the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. Jim suggested that we should present an exhibition of the work of Louis Draper, who taught photography at Mercer Community College in New Jersey where Jim was a student in the 1980s. I had never heard of Louis Draper. At the time I was co-curating an exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s films with Lynn Lukkas. On one of my trips to New York for that project, I saw an exhibition of Draper’s work at the Steven Kasher Gallery. It was amazing. I asked the gallery director if she would loan some work by Draper for a group exhibition of Black American photographers at the University of Minnesota and she agreed. I then began the checklist for the exhibition with one name: Louis Draper.

From that point forward my work on the exhibition became a wonderful process of learning about Black American photographers. When I was on staff at Walker Art Center, I helped the great curator Kellie Jones with her 1995 Dawoud Bey Portraits touring exhibition. I knew about some of the more famous Black photographers like Bey, Gordon Parks, Lorna Simpson, James Van Der Zee, Carrie Mae Weems, and so on. But my knowledge was superficial, and I was totally ignorant of the long history of Black American photographers going back to the inception of photography. I had no idea that Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century. He gave four lectures on photography during the Civil War. I brought those lectures with me on the plane to Sweden when we installed the Ana Mendieta films exhibition at the Bildmuseet in 2017 and I read and reread them on the plane. The title of our exhibition comes from his Lecture on Pictures delivered in Boston in 1861.

Going back to Louis Draper for a moment, I learned that he was instrumental in the founding of the Kamoinge Workshop in New York in 1963. The Kamoinge Workshop was a collective of great Black American photographers, who also later initiated the Black Photographers Annual in 1973. Our exhibition includes work by some of the original Workshop members, including Anthony Barboza, Adger Cowans, Louis Draper, Al Fennar, Herb Robinson, Ming Smith, and Shawn Walker, as well as some other artists who joined the organization later including Salimah Ali, Lola Flash, Russell Frederick, and John Pinderhughes. We also have the first issue of the Black Photographers Annual in the exhibition. The great curator Sarah Eckhardt organized the 2020 touring exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has all four issues of the Black Photographers Annual digitized and accessible on their website.

 

 

 

How did the pandemic affect the mounting of the exhibit?

Like many things in life, there was both a positive effect and a negative effect. On the negative side, we had to postpone the exhibition twice, from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. This was disruptive and made it difficult to proceed in an orderly fashion with the fundraising, the loans of artworks, and so on. However, on the positive side it gave me more time to work on the research side of the project which added to the depth and breadth of the curation, and it also provided more time for me to raise the money needed to publish the catalogue and finally negotiate a publication agreement with University of California Press.

 

 

 

Can you explain the process the university goes through to assemble the photos that will ultimately be in the exhibit?

It is a long and winding road! Herman and I would do our research, meet, review and combine our lists of artists, then go back and try and arrange the loans. We borrowed artworks directly from the artists, from museums, galleries, library, and archival collections. Some artists sent us prints which we framed. Some artists sent us digital files which we printed in the Department of Art, then framed. Galleries and museums typically sent the artworks to us already framed, but not always. There are 184 works in the exhibition by 111 artists and for each one of those artists there is a story about how we were able to include their work in the exhibition and catalogue. The owner of the artwork may or may not also be the owner of the copyright, so obtaining copyright holder permissions to reproduce the artworks in the catalogue is a whole other requirement that proceeds alongside the curation. Organizing an exhibition, the catalogue, and the related events is a long, laborious, detail-driven process. The only way to get through it is if you love the artworks. For Herman and me, it was a labor of love, from the very beginning to the very end.

It’s also important to mention that we are not working in a vacuum. Just as artists try to move their individual vision forward while learning from the artists who preceded them, as curators we are adding our brick to a road that came before us. Earlier I mentioned Kellie Jones and Sarah Eckhardt. I would also like to acknowledge the foundational contributions made to the field by Deborah Willis. She is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. I first learned about her work as a photographer and in 2016 I invited her to participate in the exhibition. Then, I began to learn about her scholarship, which is immense. Over the last 40 years she has published over 20 books and articles and curated numerous exhibitions on the history of Black American photography. A Picture Gallery of the Soul rests on the edifice of her monumental scholarship. Our exhibition includes her 2020 photographic installation Women’s work never praised, never done that honors Black women’s domestic labor and their political labor to secure and defend the right to vote. Our exhibition catalogue includes an essay she wrote. And on September 15 she presented a dialogic response to our exhibition in an online program.

 

 

 

It takes a village to produce a project of this ambition. Tells us about that.

It most certainly does, and I am deeply grateful for the help we have received over the years of preparation. A team of undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Art helped with research, printing, framing and installation. Most recently and most intensively, Dez Bilges and Eleanore McKenzie Stevenson worked all summer installing the exhibition. They were led in this effort by our Assistant Curator Teréz Iacovino, who assisted with every aspect of the project and produced the playback system for the Soundscape in the gallery. We had funding from several sources. We are always grateful to our funders.  You can see the list of individuals,  foundations, and businesses  who helped support the exhibition and book in the acknowledgments pages of the catalogue and on our website.

Left to right: Robin Hickman-Winfield, Great-niece of Gordon Parks, Adger Cowans, Prof. Cheryl Finley at the program and opening reception for the exhibit.

 

 

 Can you talk about the exhibition catalog?

The Katherine E. Nash Gallery co-published the exhibition catalog with the University of California Press. A Picture Gallery of the Soul includes an image, caption, artist statement and artist biography for each of the 100+ artists in the exhibition, as well as essays by Cheryl Finley, Crystal Am Nelson, Seph Rodney, Deborah Willis and the co-curators. The book can be ordered directly from UC Press or from the University of Minnesota Bookstore. Within the first week of its release our catalogue was ranked as the #1 New Release in Art History on Amazon.

 

 

A Picture Gallery of the Soul
September 13 – December 10, 2022
Katherine Nash Gallery
University of Minnesota

 




Brian Dailey WORDS: A Global Conversation at Baahng & Co in New York City

WORDS is the artist’s investigation into the impact of globalization and its effect on key human structures of language, society, culture, and environment. In each country, Dailey set up his camera with green-screen backdrop and invited random individuals.  Participants were asked 13 words in their native languages: peace, war, love, environment, freedom, religion, democracy, government, happiness, socialism, capitalism, future, and United States.  Each person responded—in a single word—with a first impression and selected a background flag reflecting his or her societal allegiance.  WORDS MULTIMEDIA is a time-based art and engages the viewers in present day issues while invoking a communal sense among global citizens.  In WORDS on WORDS, distinct single-word responses are layered in an immeasurable array of colors enhanced by the lenticular 3D effect. Interjecting his voice in a collaborative manner with the project’s participants, Dailey creates iconoclastic yet playful statements reminiscent of Dada and Surrealist word play.

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WORDS on WORDS, 2019
Set of 13, Solos, Lenticular Prints 20 x 40 in

About the artist

Born 1951 in California, Brian Dailey earned MFA from Otis Art Institute in 1975 and Ph.D. from University of Southern California in 1987 and participated in the pioneering creative experimentation defining the prolific artistic milieu in California in this era.  His early career launched him on a path that—before his full circle back to his arts in 2008—took him through a twenty-year interlude working on arms control and international security.  These unusual experiences were a fertile source of inspiration in his idiosyncratic art practice. With dual citizenship of USA and New Zealand, He lives and works in the Washington D.C. and in Woodstock, Virginia.  His selected solo exhibitions include at Katzen Arts Center, American University Museum in Washington D.C., in 2018 and his mid-career retrospective at Bulgaria’s National Art Gallery in Sofia in 2014. The evocative videoJIKAI was screened on multiple synchronized monitors in New York City in February, 2014, as the featured video in the Times Square Midnight Moment series; a project of ART PRODUCTION FUND. Brian Dailey is represented by Baahng Gallery.

Brian Dailey

WORDS: A Global Conversation

February 11 – March 17, 2020

Baahng & Co New York City, NY

Framing Specifications

BDailey_WORDS_2sm
Painted maple frame with dolphin finish, matching spacer, and strainer

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Dave Shafer “Through an Artist’s Lens” at Davis and Blevins Gallery in Texas

Dave Shafer’s photographic art work is strongly rooted in Americana themes, adventures and totems. The images for this exhibit have all be captured with film and a 50+ year old 4×5 format camera. No matter the camera or subject, Dave’s devotion is to capture the fleeting moments of gesture and light.

Shafer_Cowboy_Boot_2rev2

Cowboy Boot No. 2, 2019 4″ x 5″ archival pigment ink in acrylic – photograph reverse gilding with gold leaf

Shafer_Somberorev

Sombrero, 2015 24″ x20″ archival pigment ink – Photograph Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 100% Cotton/Acid-Lignin Free

Shafer_Cattlerev

Cattle, 2015 24″ x20″ archival pigment ink – Photograph Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 100% Cotton/Acid-Lignin Free

Shafer_Feb_Napping_Cowboyrec

Napping Cowboy 24″ x20″ archival pigment ink – Photograph Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 100% Cotton/Acid-Lignin Free

About the artist

Born and raised in the hard working steel country of Western Pennsylvania, his father at an early age introduced Dave to the camera and magic of the darkroom.

For 20 plus years his eye has been focused on commercial, advertising and magazine editorial pursuits. Dave has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including two Communication Arts – Award of Excellence and just recently a Gold Medal from the International Regional Magazine Association

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Dave Shafer 

“Through an Artist’s Lens”

February 29, 2020 – April 25, 2020

Davis and Blevins Gallery

St. Jo, Texas

Framing Specifications

nielsen 117 profile black  nielsen 117 profile white

NIELSEN METAL GALLERY FRAME

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Finish: black
Finish: white
Custom Frame Mat: 8 ply white museum mat
Custom Cut Matboard: 8 ply white museum matboard
Custom Frame Custom Frame Acrylic: 1/8″ UV acrylic cut to size




Stephen Mallon “Passing Freight” Front Room Gallery in New York City


Front Room Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photographs by Stephen Mallon. “Passing Freight” is a visual celebration of the unique beauty and function of freight train cars in United States. In 2018 there were 1,637,000 freight cars in operation across North America, each distinctive in their construction, markings and utility. Time and human contact add to each train car’s individuality: all carrying a vast, and sometimes surprising array of goods and resources. This series of photographs captures the still active rail lines that carry freight to destinations across the country. Mallon’s industrial landscape photographs isolate freight cars within this iconic transportation system, which has played a critical role in supply infrastructure across the continent for hundreds of years.

 

Mallon has been finding locations from New York to California, patiently waiting for the combination of light, subject and environment to capture unique images where they intersect. He has chosen the “decisive moment” to capture these speeding boxcars photographically. There is an intersection of mechanical and natural worlds, singular encounters where the trains activate the landscape, which for Mallon are fleeting and hard to predict. Patience leads to the essential moment when these elements come into position: the points in time where the colors and shapes of each railcar, all of the nuances of the light reflecting from the loads of steel, wood, and everything else are composed and captured.

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copyright  Stephen Mallon Images courtesy of Stephen Mallon & Front Room Gallery

About the artist

Stephen Mallon is a photographer and filmmaker who specializes in the industrial-scale creations of mankind at unusual moments of their life cycles. Mallon’s work blurs the line between documentary and fine art, revealing the industrial landscape to be unnatural, desolate and functional yet simultaneously also human, surprising and inspiring. Mallon’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, and his work has been written about in many publications, including National Geographic, The New Yorker, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Wired, Stern, PetaPixel, Viral Forest, BuzzFeed, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, and featured on CNN, CBS, MSNBC and NPR.
STEPHEN MALLON

PASSING FREIGHT

February 13 – March 15, 2020

Front Room Gallery

New York, NY

usa flag image

copyright  Stephen Mallon Images courtesy of Stephen Mallon & Front Room Gallery

Framing Specifications

Capture0018-431-101MP04_50-SPACER_STRAINER

METRO GALLERY FRAME

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Type: Standard Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: maple frame with pickled white finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame
Custom Wood Spacer: 1/4″ wood frame spacer
Custom Wood Strainer: 1/2″ wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Acrylic: 1/8″ acrylic cut to size




ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: PHOTO STRUCTURE / FOTO ESTRUCTURA at Eastman Museum

For this latest body of work, Cartagena spent time sifting through landfills on the outskirts of Mexico City to collect thousands of discarded photographs—portraits, snapshots, and tourist views. Cartagena excises figures, faces, or other details from the found photographs and reconfigures the original compositions by either moving the cut fragments or removing them entirely. The altered photographs remain strangely whole and strikingly familiar, compelling the viewer to consider what gives a photograph meaning. His arrangements reveal that seemingly crucial aspects of an image are both central and incidental to our ability to understand the works.

Cartagena is producing works of art specifically for this exhibition, giving visitors to the Eastman Museum the first opportunity to see the newest photographs in his most recent body of work.

 

StudioSession-849.jpg
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Narciso / Narcissus, 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena
StudioSession-849
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Narciso / Narcissus, 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena
StudioSession-904.jpg
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Rostros / Faces, 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena

StudioSession-904
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Rostros / Faces, 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena

StudioSession-901.jpg
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Vacaciones familiares (después Roma) / Family Vacation (after Roma), 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena

StudioSession-901
Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, b. 1977). Detail from Vacaciones familiares (después Roma) / Family Vacation (after Roma), 2019. Altered gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. © Alejandro Cartagena

About the artist

Cartagena lives and works in Monterrey, in northeastern Mexico. His projects employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban, and environmental issues. His work has been exhibited internationally and is part of public and private collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, and the George Eastman Museum.

Cartagena is also a self-publisher and co-editor of photobooks and has been published internationally in magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, Le Monde, and the New Yorker. He is the recipient of several awards, including the international Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Lente Latino award in Chile, and the Premio IILA-FotoGrafia Award in Rome.

ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: PHOTO STRUCTURE / FOTO ESTRUCTURA
January 31, 2020 - June 28, 2020
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY
ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: PHOTO STRUCTURE / FOTO ESTRUCTURA
January 31, 2020 – June 28, 2020
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY
ALEJANDRO CARTAGENA: PHOTO STRUCTURE / FOTO ESTRUCTURA
January 31, 2020 – June 28, 2020
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY

Framing Specifications


eastman frame
Capture0002-712_114MP01_spacer700

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Custom Wood Strainer: 1/2″ wood frame strainer




Chuck Koosmann “Landscapes”

Iceland is a place I didn’t know much about before travelling there. It is small, isolated and full of my imaginings. I had heard many stories about it from travelers I’ve known but didn’t have a sense of it really.

The reality was unexpected. Too many tourists in Reykjavik, glaciers of immense size, a dramatic terrain that led to the sea and a presence that talked of creation and the formation of the Earth.

The photos in this exhibit represent the images of my unexpected experience. Long cooled volcanic magma flows, extinct volcanoes, man’s adaptation to its surroundings and settlement. A story of growth and progression.

 

Highway 1
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Highway 1
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Volcanic Flows
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Volcanic Flows
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Glacial Outflow
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Glacial Outflow
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
kossman install

About the exhibition

This exhibition is a collaboration of my photography and Tiit Raid’s  paintings.

Our approach to our art is quite different. As a photographer; I see, I compose, and I make. A fairly straight forward process. In my understanding of Tiit’s process, he sees, he composes, and he interprets. To my mind there is an important and distinctive difference: objectivity vs. subjectivity.

Our collaboration piece, my photo “Volcanic Aftermath” and Tiit’s interpretive paintings of it, is the expression of how we see.

Chuck Koosmann / Tiit Raid

November 15, 2019 – December 28, 2019

Gallery Reception November 22, 2019 5-7 pm

Center for Visual Arts

Wausau, Wisconsin

Framing Specifications

Volcanic Aftermath
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
Volcanic Aftermath
Iceland, 2017
Archival Pigment Print
21 X 28”
102AH13A copy

METRO GALLERY FRAME

Profile: 101
Type: Standard Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: ash frame with black finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame
Custom Wood Spacer: 1/2″ wood frame spacer with white finish
Custom Wood Strainer: 3/4″ wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Acrylic: 1/8″ UV acrylic cut to size




Billy Hassell “Lone Star Wild” at Davis Gallery in Austin Texas

My work is a symbolic and narrative response to nature and seeks a balance between realism and abstraction. My primary subject matter has been the flora and fauna of Texas and my influences include Mexican and American folk art, 19th and 20th Century Japanese woodblock prints, natural history, field guides and botanical studies. Over the years I have become increasingly concerned and involved with environmental issues and have received commissions from Audubon Texas, the Texas Nature Conservancy and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to produce color etchings and color lithographs featuring the flora and fauna of Texas that highlight those organizations’ conservation efforts around the state and the Gulf Coast.

Billy Hassell
September 2019
Billy Hassell MOCKINGBIRD    color lithograph     8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell MOCKINGBIRD color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell GRASSHOPPER color lithograph  8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell GRASSHOPPER color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell SKUNK color lithograph  8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell SKUNK color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell BISON color lithograph  8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell BISON color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Installation shot Davis Gallery 3 copy-1
Insatllation shot Davis Gallery 2 copy-1

About the artist

Billy Hassell has been making nature inspired paintings and lithographs for more than 25 years. His colorful and expressive art works, frequently featuring birds and indigenous plants and animals, have been exhibited nationwide and are included in the permanent collections of the Houston Museum of Art, the Fort Worth Modern, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Tyler Museum of Art and numerous other public and private collections. Articles on his work have appeared in ArtNews, Southwest Art and the New York Times.

Billy Hassell “Lone Star Wild”

October 19, 2019 – November 30, 2019

Davis Gallery Austin, Texas

Framing Specifications

Billy Hassell JACK RABBIT color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Billy Hassell JACK RABBIT color lithograph 8.5” x 24”
Thin Gallery Frame
Thin Gallery Frame

METRO GALLERY FRAME

Profile: 102
Type: Thin Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: ash frame with black finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame
Custom Wood Strainer: 3/4″ wood frame strainer
Custom frame mats/sized boards: white 8 ply mat & 4 ply backing
Custom Frame Acrylic:  UV acrylic cut to size
Custom frame backing boards: 1/8″ archival coroplast




Terri M Wells Brinton AIR Museum Show

The 2019 Brinton Artists in Residence show features six diverse, nationally recognized artists who were invited for two-week residencies in 2018 to create art en plein air. The Brinton’s Artists in Residence program allows artists the unique opportunity to sketch, draw and paint on The Brinton grounds and also on other scenic locations throughout the area. Resident artists are featured in a group exhibition in the fall of the following year of their residency.

Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement III”                 11” x15", watercolor and ink
Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement III” 11” x15″, watercolor and ink
Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement V”                16” x 38” watercolor
Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement V” 16” x 38” watercolor
Terri M, Wells “Big Horn Movement IV”           11” x 15” watercolor and ink
Terri M, Wells “Big Horn Movement IV” 11” x 15” watercolor and ink

About the artist

Terri Wells With an eye for nuanced, vibrant color, and memorable compositions, Terri paints outdoors on-location throughout the U.S. Some paintings are preliminaries for abstract sculptures and studio work. Terri was Plein Air Austin’s president and chairman of the board 2005-2008. She has participated in many national shows including Maynard Dixon Country and America’s Parks Through the Beauty of Art. In 2018, she received a two-week residency from the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, WY. In 2019, Terri was invited to be one of 31 centennial artists for the Art of Texas State Parks Project. Her work sells in national shows, direct, and the Thunderbird Foundation, Mt. Carmel, UT.

TMWells_BrintonAIROpening_5A
Brinton Artists in Residence Exhibition
September 7, 2019 – October 20, 2019
The Brinton Museum Big Horn, Wyoming

Framing Specifications

Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement I”     
 11” x 22” watercolor and ink
Terri M. Wells “Big Horn Movement I”
11” x 22” watercolor and ink
Capture0018-431 101MP01_50 SPACER_STRAINER

METRO GALLERY FRAME

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Type: Standard Gallery Frame
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Being There: Photographs by James P. Blair at Middlebury College Museum of Art

This exhibition takes an intimate look at the work of renowned photographer James P. Blair, who for more than thirty-five years traveled the world for the National Geographic Society. His images not only transport us to places most of us will never visit, the best of them have become part of our visual lexicon and remind us that the world is a varied and stimulating place, sometimes breathtaking in its beauty and at other times heartbreaking in its degradation.

Ketelie Regis and her baby, Haiti, 1987. Photo: © James P. Blair.
Ketelie Regis and her baby, Haiti, 1987. Photo: © James P. Blair.
Coal Miner, South Africa, 1976. Photo: © James P. Blair.
Coal Miner, South Africa, 1976. Photo: © James P. Blair.
Wild Goose and Kili Monastery, Russia, 1991. Photo: © James P. Blair.
Wild Goose and Kili Monastery, Russia, 1991. Photo: © James P. Blair.

About the photographer

James Blair prepared for a photographic future by studying with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind for a bachelor of science degree in photography at the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Between semesters he also photographed for Roy E. Stryker (director of the Farm Security Administration Photographic Documentation of the Depression) at the Pittsburgh Photographic Library. After graduation in 1954, he spent two years as a lieutenant (j.g.) in the Navy, part of that time assisting refugees from North Vietnam in Operation Passage to Freedom. He joined WIIC-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1958 as a reporter and film photographer.

As a freelance photographer, Blair had commissions from the U.S. Information Agency, TimeLife, and National Geographic magazine. He also put together a one-man show at Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and co-authored Listen With the Eye, a book of photographs and poems, with Samuel Hazo.

Success with National Geographic assignments brought him to the staff of the magazine in 1962. He has had more than 45 stories published in the magazine, including major coverages of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Ethiopia, West Africa, Iran, Russia, and Greece, and various parts of the United States, as well as articles on agriculture, coal, astronomy, and uses of photography in science. He covered southeast China for the book Journey Into China, published in 1982. He was the chief photographer for the National Geographic book on environment, As We Live and Breathe, and then continued his special interest in the environment with coverage of the disappearing rain forest, environmental pollution, and World Heritage sites.

There have been one-man shows of his work in Teheran, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., and he has been included in group shows in Atlanta and Washington. He is represented in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery (Washington D.C.), Canegie Mellon Museum (Pittsburgh), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Portland Museum of Art (Maine). National Geographic’s 1988 Centennial Exhibit “Odyssey” included several of his photographs. Blair is a regular instructor at the Maine Photographic Workshops, the Smithsonian Institution, and numerous other workshops, and has taught at the International Center of Photogarphy, New York. He was the first Distinguished Visiting Professor of Photojournalism at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism for the year 1992

Being There: Photographs by James P. Blair
May 24, 2019 – August 11, 2019
Middlebury College Museum of Art
Middlebury, VT

Framing Specifications

Capture0002-712_114MP01_spacer700

METRO GALLERY FRAME

Profile: 114
Type: Thin Gallery Frame
wood & finish: maple frame with clear water base finish
purchasing option: joined wood frame
custom wood strainer: 1/2″ wood strainer
custom frame mats/sized boards: custom cut 8 ply mat/4ply backing
custom frame acrylic: 1/8″ UV acrylic
Custom frame backing boards: 1/8″ archival coroplast

 




In Bloom: The Botanical Paintings of T. Merrill Prentice

The New Britain Museum of America is exhibiting an array of botanical paintings by Connecticut native T. (Thurlow) Merrill Prentice (1898–1985). This is the most extensive exhibition of these paintings at the NBMAA since their gift by the artist in 1977. Prentice’s vibrant watercolors showcase lively wildflowers and plants found throughout the American Northeast. These plants and flowers became a subject of fascination for the artist, and from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, Prentice produced hundreds of carefully observed paintings of rare and common species. His works were exhibited at venues such as the Hartford Art School and the New York Botanical Garden, and a portfolio of 114 botanical studies by Prentice was published in the book Weeds and Wildflowers of Eastern North America (1973). Capturing the beauty and resilience of flowers in a staggering variety, Prentice’s delicate watercolors serve as inspiration for the preservation and appreciation of our natural world.

T. Merrill Prentice (1898—1985), Day Lily, 1969, Watercolor, 24 x 18 1/8 in., New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of the Artist

T. Merrill Prentice (1898—1985), Day Lily, 1969, Watercolor, 24 x 18 1/8 in., New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of the Artist

About the artist

During his life, Prentice was a celebrated architect who ran firms in New York and Hartford from the 1920s to the 1960s, following studies at Yale, Columbia University, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. While studying in France in the mid-1920s, Prentice became interested in watercolor, a medium that he enjoyed using but had little time to devote himself to until four decades later, following his retirement in 1965. After settling in Cornwall, Connecticut, in his later life, Prentice began to observe and paint wildflowers he found throughout his property and the wider region.

In Bloom: The Botanical Paintings of T. Merrill Prentice

March 25, 2019–September 8, 2019

The Helen T. and Philip B. Stanley Gallery

New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

nbmaa exhibit 1

Canada Goldenrod , Watercolor 1977.77.95. Wood lily, watercolor 1977.77.53. Burdock, Watercolor 1977.77.70

Framing Specifications

Purple Loosestrife 1971, Watercolor 1977.77.88.
Purple Loosestrife 1971, Watercolor 1977.77.88.
101MP14strainer

METRO GALLERY FRAME

Profile: 106
Type: Standard Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: maple frame with charcoal finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame
Custom Wood Strainer: 3/4″ wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Acrylic:  acrylic cut to size
Custom Frame Mats/sized boards: 4 ply antique white sized board