(April 2, 2009) The Grand Canyon natural wonder, sacred ground, national park, international tourist attractionis perhaps the world's best photo op. Vivid colors, 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 & 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 color photographs with historic drawings and images.
In 2007, Mark Klett, a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, and Byron Wolfe, a former student of Kletts 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 were trying to do seemed impossible at first like merging several views of a scene from different times into a continuous space, or extending one photos frame to include spaces from multiple vantage points, commented Klett. Were 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 Wolfes powerful, thoughtful and playful images.
Charting the Canyon includes 26 photographs ranging from a modest 20 by 20inch 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 color image made 66 years later.
The illusion of three-dimensions with a stereopticon viewer built for the 21st century.
Mark Klett photographs the intersection of cultures, landscapes and time. His background includes working as a geologist before turning to photography. Klett has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Buhl Foundation, and the Japan/US Friendship Commission. His work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally for over 30 years, and his work is held in over 80 museum collections worldwide. He is the author of thirteen books including the recently released Saguaros (Radius Press and DAP, 2007), After the Ruins (University of California Press 2006), Yosemite in Time (Trinity University Press, 2005), and Third Views, Second Sights (Museum of New Mexico Press 2004). Mark Klett is Regents Professor of Art at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Byron Wolfes photographs connect his interests in time, change, and place. His work is widely exhibited and collected. He is a recipient of the Sante Fe Prize for Photography and is the author of Everyday: A Yearlong Photo Diary (Chronicle Books, 2007), and a co-author of Yosemite in Time (Trinity University Press, 2005), and Third Views, Second Sights (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2004). Byron Wolfe is a Lantis University Professor at California State University, Chico where he teaches courses in digital photography, design, creative process, and innovation.
Charting the Canyon: Photographs by Mark Klett & Byron Wolfe is presented by Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography and is on view in the Museums Doris and John Norton Gallery through July 12, 2009.
The exhibition is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. Support provided by Lee and Mike Cohn, CFG Business Solutions, LLC. Special assistance on the stereoviewing instrument by Christian Poweleit, Associate Research Professional, Department of Physics, Arizona State University.
Admission to the exhibition is included in general museum admission, which is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (65+), $8 for full-time college students with ID, $4 for children ages 6-17 and free for children under 6 and for museum members. Admission is also free on Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. and for everyone on First Fridays, 6:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
Phoenix Art Museum is located in downtown Phoenix at the corner of Central and McDowell Road.