Published: January 14, 2003
MILWAUKEE, WIS. – “Bill Brandt: A Retrospective” and “Edward Weston: Life Work” are at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) through February 9. The exhibitions, made up largely of vintage prints, contain a full range of works by Brandt and Weston. “Brandt and Weston: Two Geniuses of Photography” traces the creative growth and stylistic changes of each artist, presenting their distinctive and innovative visions side by side.
Said Brian Ferriso, senior director of curatorial affairs at MAM, “Both Brandt and Weston are celebrated for their treatment of photography as an art form. These two icons had a huge impact on the art world and how people view photography.
“Bill Brandt: A Retrospective” explores the wide ranging work of this British master photographer. Brandt’s work is familiar to viewers because he is the inventor of his style — the trademark grainy gray British light evident in his photographs. From Brandt’s early work that documents fixed social contrasts of pre-World War II life in Britain to his later experimentation with a surreal style, this exhibition spans 50 years of Brandt’s far reaching career in an extensive assemblage of 155 vintage gelatin silver prints from the Bill Brandt Archive in London.
Brandt’s vision, unconfined by easy categories, extends from photojournalism to moody, atmospheric landscapes to stark, revealing portraiture to high-contrast nudes, distorted with very wide-angle lenses.
“Edward Weston: Life Work” is a survey of nearly 100 works by this American artist, containing a grouping of vintage prints from all phases of Weston’s five-decade career. Weston (1886-1958) is often cited as the quintessential American modernist photographer. Weston’s work exhibits pure form, a minimalist style and an elegant presentation of form. His work is marked by subtle and rich tonalities that enhance the elegant formal beauty of his subjects.
In this exhibition, previously unpublished masterpieces are interspersed with well-known signature images. Grouped into seven major bodies of work, the exhibition begins with his rarely exhibited early period and ends with his late landscapes of the California coast. Highlights include a work thought to be Weston’s first nude, a 1909 outdoor Pictorialist study of his wife Flora. A smoky view of the Chicago River harbor from 1916 pays homage to Coburn and Stieglitz and anticipates the urban modernism famously captured by “Armco Steel, Ohio” 1922, which marked Weston’s final break from the confines of Pictorialism and studio work, and the emergence of a sharply focused style.
The museum is at 700 North Art Museum Drive in downtown Milwaukee, along the shore of Lake Michigan. For information, 414-224-3200 or www.mam.org.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm