February 13 – March 30, 2015
We are pleased to announce The Eye of Imogen Cunningham, a collection of works divided into five portfolios, spanning her lifelong photography career. Established as one of the most accomplished photographers of the 20th Century, Imogen Cunningham has crafted a varied body of work, which visually demonstrates the evolution of her imaginative and artistic approach in photography.
Section 1 “Pictorial Prose”
When Imogen Cunningham began making photographs, the Pictorial aesthetic had long held sway over photographers. In this first selection of photographs, we can see some of the qualities that characterized this style-soft focus, symbolically stages portraits in nature, ephemeral references to nature and the nude figure, which were initially characteristic of the artistic photographic movement, distinguished her images.
Section 2 “Modern Vision”
During the 1920s, Imogen Cunningham’s creative expression was inspired by a blend of her past experience along with many sources of information. This approach made her one of the most well-informed photographic artists, and one of the most experimental photographers on the West Coast. This period saw the emergence of the thought that the camera itself is capable of giving us new ways of seeing.
Section 3 “Undulating Realism”
By the early 1930s, Imogen Cunningham was becoming nationally recognized in magazine and fine art circles; solo shows at museums made her a sought-after and respected photographer. In 1932, she was part Group f/64 along with Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and other photographers based on the West Coast. This group sought to preserve photography in its purest form.
Section 4 “Surrealist Encounters”
Inspired by exchange with her contemporaries in the fields of art and photography, Imogen Cunningham continued to develop her practice. This selection introduces a growing element of her photography: experimentation. As she turned seventy, her visual concerns were as always, directed towards the world around her. Her perspectives, concepts, and attitudes about the photograph itself were influenced by surrealism.
Section 5 “Infinite Light”
Imogen Cunningham spent most of her ninety-three years capturing and presenting her own experience. During the last ten years of her life, there were many people who wanted to spend time in her presence. Her first book, Imogen Cunningham: Photographs, was released in 1970, and from the mid 1960s to 1976 major museums across the United States held solo shows of her work.