The Center for Creative Photography is pleased to announce the exhibition The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography, on view September 4 – November 28, 2010. Organized by Aperture Foundation and curated by Lyle Rexer, this exhibition showcases the work of more than twenty contemporary photographers who base their practice in some form of abstraction.
From the beginning, abstraction has been intrinsic to photography, and its persistent popularity reveals much about the medium. The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography, curator Lyle Rexer defines abstraction as “a departure from or the eliding of an immediately apprehensible subject.” Within this broad definition, a host of approaches explore aspects of the photographic experience, including the chemistry of traditional photography, the mediation of lenses, the direct capture of light without a camera, temporal extensions, digital sampling of found images, radical cropping, and various deliberate destabilizations of photographic reference. Exhibition artists include: Bill Armstrong, Carel Balth, Adam Broomberg, Ellen Carey, Oliver Chanarin, Roland Fischer, Michael Flomen, Manuel Geerinck, Shirine Gill, Barbara Kasten, Seth Lambert, Charles Lindsay, Edward Mapplethorpe, Chris McCaw, Roger Newton, Jack Sal, Penelope Umbrico, Randy West, Silvio Wolf, and Ilan Wolf.
Some of the photographers in the exhibition adopt highly conceptual approaches; others can be considered documentary, although their subjects, from building facades to light-filled doorways, cannot be readily parsed. Still others take their inspiration from the reductive nature of Minimalism. All join a broad contemporary trend to look critically and freshly at a medium commonly considered transparent.
The exhibition is divided into two sections: “Propositions,” displays a range of approaches yielding abstract images, and a second section constituting a series of installations exploring in greater depth distinct and radical investigations of photographic processes and meanings. What, after all, is a photograph, and where does its meaning lie? In the picture itself? In the world or its phenomena? In us? These questions are as vital and open today as they were 170 years ago, when no one knew exactly what a photograph should look like or what it might disclose.
The Center is also pleased to announce a concurrent exhibition, Wynn Bullock: Color Light Abstractions. Mid-twentieth-century photographer Wynn Bullock is best known for his evocative black-and-white images. Early in the 1960s, Bullock began experimenting with abstraction by creating color photographs of light. Hampered by the limitations of color printing at that time, he was unable to make stable, exhibit-quality prints of these abstract images before his death. Preserved in the dark for over 50 years, Bullock’s original 35 mm Kodachrome slides have now been carefully scanned and printed, using the superior color reproduction processes available today allowing a new investigation of this innovative body of work.
Wynn Bullock’s color light abstractions are a deep exploration of photography’s expressive and technical potential. Going beyond what most people wanted and expected from photography in the 1950s, Bullock explored color and abstraction. He felt the substance of photography was light and the actions of light and their possibilities were unlimited for him. Bullock’s color light abstractions are an example of what we can learn about new technology from the masters of the past. This body of work allows us to extrapolate from the intuition and vision they had about photography’s potential and make new discoveries.