15
Mar
12

Exhibition: ‘The Photographs of Brett Weston’ at the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Exhibition dates:  23rd November 2011 – 25th March 25 2012

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Brett Weston’s pictures are ageing well – the decorative aesthetic seems to have more currency today than previously when the values of his father were predominant. Perhaps this has to do with the continuing influence of the Bechers and the exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man Altered Landscape (1975). Although Weston photographs nature there is a beautiful, reductive minimalism to his photographs, an enticing simplicity of light and form that could be seen as decorative but today has taken on more symbolic weight; man and nature under threat, with hints of Atget and Wynn Bullock in the mix as well. Under that seeming simplicity are sophisticated photographs that take a good eye to capture and bring to life – what seems simple isn’t by any means. The light is beautiful, the sensitivity to subject present beyond doubt. His photographs will only gain greater currency in the future.

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

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Botanical
ca. 1975
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 11 x 14 inches (27.94 x 35.56 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Lava, Hawaii
ca. 1985
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 16 x 20 inches (40.64 x 50.8 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Water
1970
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 11 x 14 inches (27.94 x 35.56 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Water Reflection, Logging, Alaska
1973
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 11 x 14 inches (27.94 x 35.56 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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“Over his long and prolific career, photographer Brett Weston (1911-1993) exemplified the modernist aesthetic. The son of famed photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958), Brett Weston was a “natural” with the camera: he was still a teenager when he first received high-level, international recognition as a creative artist.

The Photographs of Brett Weston, Nov. 23, 2011, through April 1, 2012, at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, presents a condensed 40-print survey of his long and prolific career. While rare works from the Museum’s Hallmark Photographic Collection are also included, this exhibition celebrates a gift of 260 Weston prints from Christian K. Keesee, owner of the Brett Weston Archive in Oklahoma City.

“This generous gift from Mr. Keesee exemplifies the deep interest in our program on the part of leading collectors and estates across the nation,” said Keith F. Davis, senior curator of photography. “There is also a wonderful symmetry here: this gift of Brett Weston’s work compliments one of the earliest photography gifts to the Museum, when Mr. and Mrs. Milton McGreevy donated 60 Edward Weston prints in 1958.”

Brett Weston was one of photography’s greatest prodigies. After serving as his father’s apprentice, he achieved international recognition at the age of 17 through inclusion in a landmark exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany in 1929.

“Weston’s images are beautifully modulated, unmanipulated black-and-white prints,” said Davis. “He loved sharp lenses and precision cameras, and he applied this “purist” approach to a sustained exploration of the idea of abstraction.”

Weston always sought an energizing balance between fact and form, the objective reality of the world and the purely graphic logic of pictorial shape and structure. In exploring the graphic language of form, Weston aimed to suggest the deeper possibilities, and mysteries, of familiar things.”

Press release from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Botanical
ca. 1985
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 14 x 11 inches (35.56 x 27.94 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Building, Ivy, Tree, Sutton Place, New York
1945
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 10 x 8 inches (25.4 x 20.32 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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Brett Weston (American, 1911-1993)
Broken Window
ca. 1970
Gelatin silver print
Unframed: 11 x 14 inches (27.94 x 35.56 cm)
Gift from the Christian K. Keesee Collection
© The Brett Weston Archive

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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

Opening hours:
Wed, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thurs, Fri, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun, Noon – 5 p.m.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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