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Fragile Paper Timeships

Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz, 1979-1989

December 9, 2015 Through May 29, 2016
In the T. Marc Futter Gallery

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Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Pittsburgh, Carnival and train (detail), 1984
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea; © Joel Meyerowitz

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Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Ariel Meyerowitz (detail), 1981
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea; © Joel Meyerowitz

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Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Early morning still life (detail), 1983
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea; © Joel Meyerowitz

meyerowitz_mh_2014_46_17_v1_01-hpr.jpg

Pittsburgh, Carnival and train (detail), 1984

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946)
Vintage chromogenic print
2014.46.17
 

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Pittsburgh, Carnival and train (detail), 1984

meyerowitz_mh_2014_53_1_v1_01-hpr.jpg

Ariel Meyerowitz (detail), 1981

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946)
Vintage chromogenic print
2014.53.1

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Ariel Meyerowitz (detail), 1981

meyerowitz_mh_2014_47_8_v1_01-hpr.jpg

Early morning still life (detail), 1983

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946)
Vintage chromogenic print
2014.47.8

Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1946), Early morning still life (detail), 1983

In the text to his 1985 photo-essay A Summer’s Day, Joel Meyerowitz describes his photographs as “fragile paper timeships dusted with information.” A master of color photography for more than four decades, Meyerowitz catches fleeting sensations in his images, rather than just objects or observations. The source information “dusted” across his prints is often as intangible as his metaphor suggests. Drawn from a recent gift to MHCAM of 98 photographs by Meyerowitz, this exhibition explores the period of the artist’s career following the publication of his influential book Cape Light in 1979. In the ensuing decade, Meyerowitz deepened his investigation of the descriptive power of the large-format view camera that had inspired his first photographs of the landscape and architecture of Cape Cod. He continued his Bay/Sky series of tonalist seascapes, but also captured his friends and family enveloped in the light of summer. He set down his view camera in new locales and learned, as he later reflected, “to photograph without looking” and trust his sensory reality. What Meyerowitz perceives before he snaps the camera’s shutter is not a beach or a woman or a bouquet, but the vibrations of the horizon line, the sunlight electrifying a mop of red curls or the illusion of a glass vase dissolving into the misty sky behind it. Through his photographs, we are transported to zones of color and light that were not looked for, but seen.

Curated by Hannah W. Blunt, Assistant Curator

This exhibition is made possible by the Susan Davenport Page and Margaret Page Fales Fund.