04
Oct
12

Exhibition: ‘Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge’ at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

Exhibition dates: 9th June – 8th October 2012

 

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

 

 

Ansel Adams. 'The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming' 1942

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
1942
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams. 'Reflections at Mono Lake, California' 1948

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Reflections at Mono Lake, California
1948
Gelatin silver print
David H. Arrington Collection
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Leaf, Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska' c. 1948

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Leaf, Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska
c. 1948
From What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian, Portfolio IV (1963)
Gelatin silver print
© 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas' 1947

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Texas
1947
Gelatin silver print
© 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

 

Ansel Adams. 'Barnacles, Cape Cod' 1938

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Barnacles, Cape Cod
1938
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'The Golden Gate Before the Bridge, San Francisco' 1932

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
The Golden Gate Before the Bridge, San Francisco
1932
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

 

This summer, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) will unveil an exhibition shedding new light on one of history’s most iconic and beloved photographers. Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge features more than 100 photographs combining famous images with extraordinary lesser-known works that focus on the artist’s treatment and exploration of water in all its forms. Full of energy and dynamism, Adams’ photographs of seascapes, beaches, bays, tide pools, clouds and waterfalls provide a fresh perspective on the artist’s celebrated career. Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge was organised by the Peabody Essex Museum where it will be on view for its exclusive U.S. engagement from June 9 through October 8, 2012, and will then travel to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK.

“Throughout his life, Adams was drawn to the water for its visual potential, exploring where elemental forces meet,” says Phillip Prodger, exhibition curator and PEM’s curator of photography. “As an innovative Modernist, he explored seriality, motion and time, using a range of techniques to capture a definitively fluid and elusive substance.”

In this exhibition, drawn from the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona and other prominent private and institutional collections, viewers will have the opportunity to see the pictures that Adams made for himself. Both grand and intimate at turns, these personal, and sometimes experimental images express his thoughts about the natural world, and often push the boundaries between realism and abstraction. Ranging in size from 3 x 5-inch prints to 10 x 12-foot murals, many will be appearing publicly for the first time at the Peabody Essex Museum. Adams was one of the first photographers to work in the large-scale mural format which has now become standard among contemporary artists.

At the Water’s Edge provides a fresh look at Ansel Adams, as well-known and beloved pictures of rugged mountains, desert landscapes, and rocky cliffs blend with sparkling, spraying, whirling waters in all of their flowing power and reflective nuance. The undeniable attraction of water as a photographic subject captured Adams at an early age. The very first photograph Adams ever made, shown at PEM for the first time, features a watery pool at the Panama Pacific Exhibition of the 1915 World’s Fair, made when Adams was just 14 years old. Over time, his lens claimed the territory between Yosemite National Park and the Pacific, as well as Hawaii and Alaska, where he shot images shown in this exhibition.

Notably, he made a powerful group of photographs of New England, the only coastal location outside of California that Adams photographed steadily. Over a course of decades, he explored the coast from Connecticut to Maine, especially in Massachusetts, making repeated trips to Cape Cod and Boston’s North Shore.

 

Highlights

Visitors will have the opportunity to see rarely-viewed objects, including the print of Golden Gate before the Bridge that used to hang over Ansel Adams’ desk, and which he considered among his very best photographs. At the same time, stunning, oversized exhibition prints of iconic photographs including Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite, Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park and Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoo, Marin County, California will be on display, among others.

One of the surprises revealed in At the Water’s Edge is Adams’ interest in using sequential imagery to freeze motion in time. An especially powerful example is the majestic surf sequence, San Mateo County Coast, California, 1940. Adams was possibly the first well-known photographer since Eadweard Muybridge to attempt to use photography in this way, employing seriality and sequence to create a cohesive narrative. Another series of photographs of Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, shows a different approach to sequentiality. A poignant exploration of form, movement and time, they can be viewed as Adams’ version of Monet’s haystacks. As with Monet, Adams visited Old Faithful at different times of day, photographing in varying light and changing atmospheric conditions.

Another unexpected addition is the exceedingly rare Japanese-style screen, Grass and Pool, 1948, dating from a period of tremendous creativity in Adams’ work. Standing on round metal feet, it was designed to be shown directly on the floor in a domestic environment. In subject and treatment, it was inspired by Asian painted screens in which picture planes are flattened and perspectives tilted. The three articulated panels can be angled to catch the light differently, the rhythm of the fold cleverly mirroring the angular pattern of the exposed grass.

For Adams, part of the appeal of creating such a work was thwarting conventional expectations about what a photograph might look like and where and how it could be shown. Like many modernists, Adams considered photographs not just as images but as objects – the craft and sheer physical presence of the work reinforced its significance as a work of art and the focus of contemplation.”

Press release from the Peabody Essex Museum website

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Kaweah Gap, Sierra Nevada, California' 1932

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Kaweah Gap, Sierra Nevada, California
1932
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park' c. 1937

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite, Tetons
c. 1937
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming' 1942

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
1942
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne River' 1944

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne River
1944
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Surf Sequence #1, San Mateo County Coast, California' 1940

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Surf Sequence #1, San Mateo County Coast, California
1940
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Surf Sequence #3, San Mateo County Coast, California' 1940

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Surf Sequence #3, San Mateo County Coast, California
1940
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) 'Surf Sequence #4'

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Surf Sequence #4, San Mateo County Coast, California
1940
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Photograph of Old Faithful Geyser Erupting in Yellowstone National Park' 1941

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Photograph of Old Faithful Geyser Erupting in Yellowstone National Park
1941
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Upper Yosemite Fall' 1946

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Upper Yosemite Fall
1946
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Nevada Fall Profile' 1946

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Nevada Fall Profile
1946
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Upper Yosemite Fall' 1960

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Upper Yosemite Fall
1960
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams. 'Fern Spring, Dusk, Yosemite Valley' c. 1961

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Fern Spring, Dusk, Yosemite Valley
c. 1961
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams. 'Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California' 1962

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Stream, Sea, Clouds, Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California
1962
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adams. 'Waterfall, Northern Cascades, Washington' 1960

 

Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Waterfall, Northern Cascades, Washington
1960
Gelatin silver print
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
© 2011 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

 

Peabody Essex Museum
East India Square
161 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970-3783 USA
Phone: 978-745-9500, 866-745-1876

Opening hours:
Open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Closed Mondays

Peabody Essex Museum 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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