CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. – The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College is presenting three exhibitions this summer: “Abyssinia, 1867-1868: Artists on Campaign – Watercolors and Drawings from The British Expedition under Sir Robert Napier”; “Ancient Micro-worlds”; and “Common Ground: Photographers on the Street,” which will be on display through September 7.
“Abyssinia, 1867-1868: Artists on Campaign” presents drawings and watercolors by Robert Baigrie, Adam George Forbes Hogg and William Simpson, who traveled to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) with the expedition of Robert Napier in 1868.
With explanatory text on the reverse, these drawings were sent back from Abyssinia to England to be published in the Illustrated London News. The drawings are from the collection of Jean and Frederic Sharf. “In the spring of 1997 a portfolio of drawings by Robert Baigrie came to my attention,” writes Sharf in an introduction in the accompanying exhibition catalog. “The entire portfolio is now reunited and exhibited here, along with a few additional related rdf_Descriptions.”
The 20 photographs “Ancient Microworlds” magnify forms, textures and colors of fossils ordinarily invisible to the naked eye. Physician and archaeologist Giraud Foster and biomedical/scientific photographer Norman Barker collaborated for 12 years, merging art and science into an innovative, high-magnification photographic technique, to produce boldly colored images. They select fossil specimens that are particularly striking in at least one field of vision under high magnification. At the same time, they seek to reveal dynamic compositions of color and varied texture.
Curated by Boston College faculty members, “Ancient Microworlds” was organized by the McMullen Museum and the geology and geophysics department at Boston College. The photographs are a recent gift to the museum from Giraud Foster and Norman Barker; the fossils are from the collection of the geology department.
“Common Ground: Photographers on the Street” focuses on the photographer’s fascination with the street. From the medium’s inception in the Nineteenth Century, photographers have looked to this public venue as a source of inexhaustible visual material. The exhibition brings together 22 photographs that inventively examine and record commonplace events, people and objects.
The beginning of the exhibition captures the streets of New York City, from the 1960s and 1970s, in black and white photography by Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and Lee Friedlander. The second section of the exhibition is devoted to contemporary street photographers, a group less often examined in the museum setting.
The museum is in Devlin Hall on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College, at 140 Commonwealth Avenue. For information, 617-552-8100 or www.bc.edu/artmuseum.