Landscape photography carries viewers away

Denver Art Museum exhibit has works from about 40 creators

Posted 7/31/18

From the first super-sized work at the gallery entrance through almost 100 images, shot day and night across our ever-amazing world, “New Territory: Landscape Photography Today” offers a Denver …

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Landscape photography carries viewers away

Denver Art Museum exhibit has works from about 40 creators

Posted

From the first super-sized work at the gallery entrance through almost 100 images, shot day and night across our ever-amazing world, “New Territory: Landscape Photography Today” offers a Denver Art Museum visitor a peek inside the minds of about 40 contemporary photographers whose visions of the land stretch the imagination and carry one from this print to the next one, exclaiming, “How did she/he do that?”

This collection stretches what boundaries there may have been about traditional landscape photography — both in technique and image. And of course, many carry messages about today’s environmental considerations, perceptions and values as they stir the imagination … visitors have exclaimed: “I never saw anything like this!”

The exhibit runs through Sept. 16 on Level 2 of the Hamilton Building, Denver Art Museum — now open seven days a week.

For example, Matthew Brandt’s large three-panel “Lake Isabella” was developed with water from the popular California lake site, as well as a bit of sand, soil and more. This young Los Angeles artist, who grew up assisting his photographer father in his lab, operates free from the constraints some bring to the art as they produce perfect, unmarred prints. Brandt is known for highly experimental, site-specific work, such as “Lake Isabella.”

Curator Eric Paddock calls work exhibited in this exhibit “process-dominant … It blurs the distinctions between `observed’ and `constructed’ imagery, between the `real’ and `ideal’ landscapes that have shaped photography for the past 50 years.”

Abelardo Morrell’s very different images of mostly familiar spots in America’s national parks were achieved with a periscope/lens sticking out from the top of a tent, which reproduced the scene on the tent floor, onto the dirt and sand one walks on approaching the site. The act of translating that image to the prints we see on the museum walls explains their sort of otherworldly quality. Actually, both those special locations and prints display that quality. Stand in front of them for a while and let them reel you in! Morrell is a Cuban-American artist with a truly original view of his world — making it his own — yet clearly recognizable. Morrell is quoted: “I wanted to find a way to make these well-known views into my own private discoveries” … James M. Allen of Eastman Museum said of these works: “They tie the ground to a scenic view, transform the geology of the land into his canvas …”

Buenos Aires, Argentina resident Adam Jeppesen, who spoke in late June, walked 487 days alone from the North Pole, through the Americas and concluded at the South Pole in Antarctica, taking pictures every day. Some from this adventure are exhibited, including scratches to negatives that occurred in his backpack. He discovered a positive side to solitude and his works “reflect the physical and emotional experience of his adventure.”

Sharon Harper, who will lecture at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, attached a camera to a telescope to take pictures of the night sky, continuing her exploration of the role of photography as we explore the surrounding landscape. (The camera can expand our vision as well as alter it …)

Astronomical images, closeups of nature, photos large and small, precise and abstract make up this carefully curated exhibit. It would be perfect to share with visiting family and friends this summer.

• Some related programs:

Daily tours with a docent are planned through Sept. 16 from 1:30 to 2:15.

Aug. 3 at 4 p.m., Conversations with Curators features Eric Paddock, who organized this exhibit, discussing the history and practice of landscape photography.

Aug. 23 from 7-8 p.m., Anderman Photography Lectures features Sharon Harper talking about how the camera is a way to translate kinds of connections that we’re not even aware of and the kinds of connections that are very abstract and difficult to talk about.

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