press release

29 contemporary photographs acquired during the past five years go on view for the first time

The second in an ongoing series of photographic exhibitions that focus on the Museum's permanent collection, this installation highlights 29 contemporary photographs acquired during the past five years all on view for the first time.

Oliver Boberg, Sarah Jones, Nikki S. Lee, Loretta Lux, Mark Mann, María Martinez-Canas and Shizuka Yokomizo are just a few of the artists featured. Among the recurring themes that emerge from this selection are portraiture, domestic narratives and experimental practices.

Whether realized in color or in black and white, derived from existing, constructed or digitally enhanced realities, or conceived as a single image or as part of a larger series each of the 29 works in this exhibition provides insight into contemporary artists' fascination with the photographic process as a means of making their visions real.

Many of the works have been purchased with funds generated by the Museum's Photography Committee and by its members. Several of the artists featured in Focus on: New Photography will have work included in Maximum Exposure, the Norton's inaugural Photography Auction on Saturday, April 9, 2005.

PORTRAITURE: As an historical genre, portraiture played a powerful role in popularizing the photographic medium. From the earliest days of its invention, members of a burgeoning middle class recognized photography's potential to celebrate and preserve the likenesses of family and friends. Today many artists use photographic portraiture to explore the role of individuals within their immediate environment. The resulting images might emphasize a sense of dislocation, as in Loretta Lux's (German, born 1969) jewel-like portraits of children; although the tones of a little girl's dress and skin suggest that she is in perfect harmony with her rose garden setting, her distant gaze transports her to another world. Other images demonstrate the lengths to which people will go to fit in, as in Nikki S. Lee's (Korean, born 1970) series of snapshot-like photographs that record her sampling of various subcultures by adopting the persona, dress and body language of that culture for a period of several weeks or months. Still others might prove that it is possible to create a portrait that reveals much about the sitter, even when the photographer and sitter have never met, as in Shizuka Yokomizo's (Japanese, born 1966) "Dear Stranger" series.

DOMESTIC SETTING AND NARRATIVES: For many artists, it is the domestic setting and the narratives that unfold therein that captivate. Oliver Boberg (German, born 1965) focuses his camera on the unremarkable details of nondescript postwar residential architecture-unremarkable until one realizes that he has constructed these scenes as architectural models solely for the purpose of photographing them. Peggy Nolan (American, born 1944) similarly takes pictures of that which would otherwise go unnoticed, the insignificant objects and scenes that she catches out of the corner of her eye, or as she peers under the beds or down long hallways. Linda Girvin (American, born 1946) uses lenticular photography to construct a domestic narrative that unfolds as the viewer moves past the photograph, which layers multiple images a husband and wife discussing their separate agendas. Using digital technology, Mark Mann (American, born 1970) translates postcard images from the 1960s and 1970s into disquieting images of families whose vacations or simple outings have gone awry.

EXPERIMENTAL PRACTICES: Still other artists strive to push the boundaries of photography by experimenting with practices that would seem to refute the very qualities that are distinct to the medium. Marco Breuer (German, born 1966) creates images without a camera by exposing sheets of black-and-white photo paper to light and heat, enlisting chance in a delicate balance between the act of making art and destroying its substance in the process. Kunié Sugiura's (Japanese, born 1942) stacked flower series similarly utilizes the camera less photogram process to capture the ghost-like traces of irises placed atop photographic paper in geometric formations. The realm of nature is one in which many artists feel compelled to experiment. María Martínez-Canas (American, born Cuba, 1960) incorporates untraditional materials such as Rubylith film, vegetative materials and found imagery to invent a pictorial language that owes as much to photography as it does to drawing, printmaking, and digital technology. DoDo Jin Ming (Chinese, born 1955) reverses the tonalities of sunflowers in different states of growth and decay to suggest the passage of life in a single image.

PHOTOGRAPHY AUCTION: Maximum Exposure, the Norton's inaugural Photography Auction, will be held on Saturday, April 9. Ray Merritt, chairman of the Museum's Photography Committee, is serving as chairman of the event; co-chairs are Joan Daniels and Sally Soter. Donated works by both established and new photographers, will be auctioned to benefit the photography programs of the Norton. Among the photographers whose work will be available are Tom Baril, Lorna Bieber, Marco Breuer, Catherine Chalmers, Lucien Clergue, Sally Gall, Ralph Gibson, Bill Jacobson, Jerome Liebling, Jenny Lynn, Jill Mathis, Peggy Nolan, Ernesto Pujol, and Pete Turner. A reception for interested bidders will be held prior to the auction. For more information call the Special Events Department at 561-832-5196 extension 1193.

PERMANENT COLLECTION: The Norton Museum of Art has long been committed to photography, and the collection is now attracting international attention. In 1998, the Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim donated 670 photographs to the Museum, including works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, August Sander, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and Bernd and Hilla Becher, making the Norton's photography collection one of the preeminent collections in the South. The Museum's collection of photographs represents nearly all of the medium's major developments and innovations, including the Pictorialism of Heinrich Kühn, Baron Adolph de Meyer and Clarence H. White, the social realism of Walker Evans and Lewis Hine, the abstract modernism of Man Ray and Ralston Crawford, and the bold contemporary imagery of William Eggleston, Ralph Gibson, Candida Höfer, David Levinthal, Vik Muniz, Catherine Chalmers and Zhang Huan.


only in german

Focus on New Photography

mit Oliver Boberg, Sarah Jones, Nikki S. Lee, Loretta Lux, Jenny Lynn, Mark Mann, Maria Martinez-Canas, Shizuka Yokomizo, u.a.