To a photographer, inspiration can appear in many ways: The smile on a child’s face, the dew drop on a flower, the angles and whorls in a building’s façade.
Or it can be something — an image, an idea, a tableau — locked in the mind, where it stays until the photographer brings it to life.
That is what Made to Capture, the newest exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum, conveys.
“The common thread in these works is the artists’ shared desire to literally create or build the world that is being captured in the photograph, much like a stage set, doll house or aquarium,” said Kristen Accola, who is curating Made to Capture, an exhibition featuring contemporary photographs. “The artists in this exhibition create everything from story book-like scenarios, to abstract painting-like imagery to dramatic realistic landscapes.”
Made to Capture opens Sunday, September 27 with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Museum. Refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited. It features the work of nine artists and offers a diverse range of concepts and techniques used to re-create visual reality in new and inspired ways.
“I hope audiences simply enjoy seeing unusual methods of photography that are intriguing, mysterious, funny, elegantly beautiful or wildly fantastical,” Accola said. “Also, I always hope that visitors see something new in contemporary art that they might not have seen before and get a new visual experience to contemplate.”
For instance, viewers can explore the fascinating snow-globe art of Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz. The duo builds miniature worlds of complicated human scenarios in dark and snowy landscapes, all of which are created in actual snow globes before being photographed.
“The events implied are always a bit mysterious and totally captivating, like unfinished stories you will never know the ending to,” Accola said. “There is something inescapably intriguing about life depicted under a glass dome in miniature.”
The exhibition also includes works from Patrick Nagatani and painter Andrée Tracey, two forerunners in the genre of contemporary photography who collaborated during the 1980s. Nagatani/Tracey stage elaborate photographic tableaux that present an animated color-saturated view of nuclear power that displays a belief in irony and a dark sense of humor.
Artists whose works are also featured in the show are: Matthew Albanese, Laura Letinsky, Ken Matsubara, Lauren Semivan and Paulette Tavormina.
Contemporary photography has evolved into a main stream fine art medium in the past three decades, having previously been a very separate category of art making, Accola said.
“The boundaries that used to confine photography to capturing the world around us as we know it have dissolved,” Accola said. “New technologies and conceptual approaches have resulted in the medium’s use in contemporary art that is as conceptually and materially complex as painting can be. As a curator, I am always most interested in the new genres that are the result of both the technological and perceptual innovations of our era.”
Made to Capture runs until January 3, 2016.
Image credit: Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, The Search, 2009-11, C-print on Fujicolor Crystal Archival Paper, Edition 1 of 4, 36.25 X 61.25 in., courtesy of PPOW Gallery.