Reception: Monday, September 10 6-8 p.m.
in conjunction with Madison Square Park film preview
Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to announce Wegman Outdoors, a survey exhibition of photographs dating from 1981 through 2007. The exhibition will bring together classic Wegman images with rarely exhibited material and surprising new work to reveal the full range of the artist’s outdoor color photography. The show will coincide with the opening of William Wegman’s new video work, Around the Park, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, a narrative film shot entirely in the park and presented on outdoor monitors surrounding the Shake Shack.
The subject of landscape has been a constant theme in Wegman’s painting, drawing, and conceptual photographs of the 1970s. In the early 1980s, the artist’s approach to photography broadened from the posed studio shots of his canine muse, Man Ray, to outdoor photographs integrating the dog with the Maine landscape where the artist spent summers. The show includes a rare 3-panel narrative of Man Ray gazing into a pond; in another the dog, his body covered with leaves, blends seamlessly into an autumnal landscape. Cibachrome photographs of Fay Ray from the 1993 in which her sinuous form is wrapped around mossy tree trunks have the feeling of 19th century photographs such as Carlton Watkins, an acknowledged influence. Landscape again appears in the chromogenic prints Wegman began to make in 2000. Usually shot in Maine with a Hasselblad 2 ½ format camera, the c-prints are direct spontaneous encounters with the dogs in the landscape. Set into the crevices of rock formations, sprawled on a dock at sunset, or dwarfed in large vistas of the Rangeley Lakes region, these images of the dogs are closer to the modernist photography of Edward Weston and Paul Strand than Wegman’s conceptual work of the ‘70s. Their intimate scale (they measure 14 x 11 inches) differentiates them from the polaroids. In 2006, Wegman began using a digital camera with a Hasselblad lens attachment, which allowed him to print these images on a larger sheet. The exhibition contains several of these new images from 2007, which expand upon the themes of the c-prints.
William Wegman, an important presence in the art world for thirty years, has achieved a remarkable breadth of audience, from museum curator to dog lover to children around the world. First known for his conceptual photography and video works made in the 1970s, Wegman is a master of many mediums, chief among them painting, drawing, and photography. The artist’s comprehensive traveling exhibition, William Wegman-Funney/Strange organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA completes its national tour at the Wexner Center, Columbus, OH this fall. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm, and Saturday, 11am-6pm. For further information, contact Betsy Senior or Laurence Shopmaker.