Archive for April 26th, 2009

26
Apr
09

Exhibition: ‘Charting the Canyon: Photographs by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe’ at Phoenix Art Museum

Exhibition dates: 21st March – 12th July, 2009

 

An interesting concept but I’m not entirely sure that the images are successful. Some work better than others. Perhaps it is not necessary for there to be an absolute registration across time and space, the continuation of a horizon line for example. The famous photographic collages by David Hockney are a case in point.

It doesn’t matter when the images were made, whether there is a second, or a century, between compositions. The camera and the artist are always selective, the camera always privileging one view over another view: all images are therefore constructions. Hockney pushes the boundaries of these constructions whereas I don’t think these images do to anywhere near the same extent.

There were some vaguely interesting videos on the Phoenix Art Museum website about the starting point, discovery, process and collaboration for the work which are no longer available. There is one video available on the Klett and Wolfe website.

Marcus

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Many thankx to Phoenix Art Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Rock formations on the Road to Lee's Ferry, Arizona' 2008

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe.
Rock formations on the Road to Lee’s Ferry, Arizona
2008
Digital inkjet print
36″ h x 76″ w

Left inset: William Bell. Plateau North of the Colorado River near the Paris 1872 (courtesy National Archives)
Right inset: William Bell. Headlands North of the Colorado River 1872 (courtesy National Archives)

 

William H. Bell (1830 - January 28, 1910) 'Headlands North of the Colorado River' 1872

 

William H. Bell (1830 – January 28, 1910)
Headlands North of the Colorado River
1872
Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division
Courtesy National Archives

 

 

Arizona’s Grand Canyon – natural wonder, national park, tourist attraction, sacred land – is perhaps the world’s best “photo op.” The collaborative photographic team of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe have set out to explore this celebrated place of dramatic beauty, and Phoenix Art Museum is proud to be the first to show a comprehensive look at their powerful, thoughtful, and playful approach to the Grand Canyon.

Drawn from two seasons of fieldwork, Charting the Canyon will include about 30 photographs ranging from a modest 20 by 20-inch print to a panorama nearly 10 feet wide. Mark Klett, a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, and Byron Wolfe, a former student of Klett’s who is now a Lantis’ University Professor teaches at California State University at Chico, have been interested in rephotographing historic images since their collaboration began in 1997.

Now the pair combines their own colour photographs with imagery by 19th-century photographer J. K. Hillers and artist William Holmes and by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, who worked at the Canyon in the early 20th century. Klett and Wolfe respond to the historic images and the Canyon itself, yielding artworks that reconsider an icon, challenge how we perceive the land, and bring a new perspective to its portrayals.

Charting the Canyon offers visual delights: the humorous layering of a 19th-century drawing with contemporary photographic details, the extension of an Ansel Adams view into a serene panorama, and the illusion of three-dimensions with a stereopticon viewer built for the twenty-first century, among others to be discovered in this unique exhibition.”

Text from the Phoenix Art Museum website [Online] Cited 20/04/2009 no longer available online

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Sixty-six years after Edward Weston's "Storm, Arizona" From the Marble Canyon Trading Post' 2007

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Sixty-six years after Edward Weston’s “Storm, Arizona” From the Marble Canyon Trading Post
2007
Digital inkjet print
16″ h x 38.75″ w

 

Left: Edward Weston. Storm, Arizona 1941 (courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson).

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Desert View: from the window of the Watchtower gift shop' 2008

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Desert View: from the window of the Watchtower gift shop
2008

 

 

The Grand Canyon – natural wonder, sacred ground, national park, international tourist attraction – is perhaps the world’s best “photo op.” Vivid colours, breathtaking vistas and jaw dropping canyon depths have lured photographers to Northern Arizona for years. A new exhibition, Charting the Canyon: Photographs by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe on view at Phoenix Art Museum through July 12, 2009, explores this celebrated place of dramatic beauty with large-scale sweeping panoramas that marry 21st century colour photographs with historic drawings and images.

In 2007, Mark Klett, a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, and Byron Wolfe, a former student of Klett’s and now a Lantis’ University Professor at California State University at Chico, headed to the Grand Canyon to re-envision the many images made at the site over the last 150 years. During two summers of field work, they identified the exact locations portrayed in early photographs and drawings. From those geographic points they created new photographs that incorporate the original view. Digital versions of the historic images are inserted within the contemporary photograph, creating combined images that convey the big picture surrounding earlier artists’ depicted view.

Working collaboratively, Klett and Wolfe challenge one another to invent new ways to integrate the historic images they discover. Charting the Canyon reveals their combined invention, offering provocative ways to think about the land, its history and our role in seeing it.

“Many of the things we’re trying to do seemed impossible at first – like merging several views of a scene from different times into a continuous space, or extending one photo’s frame to include spaces from multiple vantage points,” commented Klett. “We’re intentionally using playfulness as a way to stretch ideas, a kind of free form exploration that puts a premium on creative solutions to complex space and time problems.”

“The pleasure the artists experienced in the creative process comes through in their work. Charting the Canyon is a joyful exploration allowing Museum visitors to discover the Grand Canyon in a new and thought-provoking way,” commented Rebecca Senf, Norton Family Assistant Curator of photography, Phoenix Art Museum. “Phoenix Art Museum is proud to be the first to show a comprehensive look at Klett and Wolfe’s powerful, thoughtful and playful images.”

Charting the Canyon includes 26 photographs ranging from a modest 20 by 20-inch print to a panorama 10 feet wide. Exhibition highlights include:
The humorous layering of a 19th-century drawing with contemporary photographic details.
The extension of an Ansel Adams view into a serene panorama.
The pairing of a black-and-white Edward Weston view with a colour image made 66 years later.
The illusion of three-dimensions with a stereopticon viewer built for the 21st century.

Text from Artdaily.org website

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Point Imperial on the Grand Canyon' 2008

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Point Imperial on the Grand Canyon, 50% Ansel Adams, 50% Red Wall Limestone
2008

Left: Ansel Adams. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 1941

 

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) 'Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona' 1941

 

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
1941
Gelatin silver print

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Panorama from Hopi Point on the Grand Canyon, made over two days extending the view of Ansel Adams' 2007 

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Panorama from Hopi Point on the Grand Canyon, made over two days extending the view of Ansel Adams
2007

Right: Ansel Adams. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 1941 (Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ)

 

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) 'Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona' 1941

 

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
1941
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ

 

 

“We’re intentionally using playfulness as a way to extend ideas, a kind of free-form exploration that puts a premium on creative solutions to complex space and time problems. Many of the things we’re trying to do seemed impossible at first – like merging several views of a scene from different times into a continuous space, or extending one photo’s frame to include spaces from multiple vantage points.”

Klett and Wolfes process of inserting historic views within contemporary photographs, or linking a number of different historic views, emphasises the possibilities of multiple interpretations of a single landscape. If we look at a photograph of the Grand Canyon, we bring to it our own cultural notions, myths, and memories, and read it based on our personal point of view. By bringing together images made throughout time, Klett and Wolfe remind us that any terrain is not only what we see and think about it in this present moment, but it is part of a long evolution of thought and use that includes the past and future, as well. The team’s photographs present time as overlapping layers, much like the stratigraphic rock of the Canyon. This unconventional presentation encourages viewers to see time as a flexible construction.”

Text by Rebecca Senf, Assistant Curator of photography, Phoenix Art Museum from the exhibition brochure [Online] Cited 20/04/2009 no longer available online

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. 'Details from the view at Point Sublime on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, based on the panoramic drawing by William Holmes (1882)' 2007

 

Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe
Details from the view at Point Sublime on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, based on the panoramic drawing by William Holmes (1882)
2007

Lithograph by William Henry Holmes, 1882. From Clarence Dutton, Atlas to Accompany the Monograph on the Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon District. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress).

 

David Hockney. 'Pearblossom Highway., 11 - 18th April 1986 #2' 1986

 

David Hockney
Pearblossom Highway., 11-18th April 1986 #2
1986

 

 

Phoenix Art Museum
McDowell Road & Central Avenue
1625 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Opening hours:
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Tuesday, 10am-9pm
Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
First Friday Evenings, 6-10pm

Phoenix Museum of Art website

Byron Wolfe website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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