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Adams, Weston and Black-and-White Beauty



Brett Weston, “Untitled [mud cracks]” 1954

Color isn't the only tool in an artist's arsenal – while the dozens of works on display in the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's newest pair of exhibitions are lacking in vivid hues, they're anything but lifeless and dull. Two of America’s photographic legends combine for an intensely beautiful viewing experience showcasing the sky above our heads, the earth beneath our feet and the incredible potential of black-and-white film.

Names don’t come any bigger than Ansel Adams; he’s probably the most famous photographer who’s ever lived. Besides developing his own considerable gifts through taking more than 40,000 photographs during his career, he helped refine the science of the medium by co-formulating the Zone System to determine proper exposure for a given shot and, perhaps most importantly, popularized the idea that a camera could be more than a tool for documenting individual moments.
In his words, “Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas; it is a creative art.” For its first century, it simply wasn’t considered an art form, and if that seems strange to us now, it’s because Adams and his successful efforts to develop recognition for his name and work helped elevate the medium in the public consciousness.

Adams was also a staunch environmentalist, joining the Sierra Club at 17 and spending the remainder of his life campaigning for the preservation of nature. He helped organize the first museum photography department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, created the first academic photography department at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco
Art Institute) and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 by Jimmy Carter for his efforts as a “visionary and environmentalist.”

Brett Weston “Untitled [tree bark]” ca. 1975

Organized by the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the exhibition “Ansel Adams: An American Perspective” will feature nearly 60 examples of his work from 1920 through 1965, including notable highlights such as “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” “Yosemite National Park (1927),” “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941)” and “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite Valley, California (1944).”

It’s intended to provide an overview of Adams’ life – from his early years when he discovered the beauty and solace of the American West with images of Sierra Nevada, Yosemite Valley and Glacier National Park, to his later portraits of close friends and fellow artists. As the museum puts it, the exhibition “introduces lesser-known aspects of Adams’ work alongside his most celebrated images that, in the age of climate change and urban sprawl, continue to strike a chord in our collective awareness and satisfy our ideas of natural beauty.”

(top) Ansel Adams “Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona,” 1937; Ansel Adams “Alfred Stieglitz and Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, An American Place, New York,” 1944Where Adams was inspired to investigate photography in his adolescence during a particularly inspirational trip to Yosemite and never lost his love for portraying the beauties of the natural landscape, Brett Weston was practically born with silver nitrate in his blood: his father was a renowned photographer (Edward Weston was a co-founder of San Francisco photography conclave Group f/64 with Adams), and from his earliest frames the younger Weston exhibited a knack for abstraction.

Like Adams, Weston began exploring photography in his teens. At the age of 13, he accompanied his father to Mexico, where he was exposed to the works of revolutionary artists like Diego Rivera and José Orozco, who influenced his sense of form and composition – this was the point at which he began taking his own photographs using his father’s camera. He began to exhibit his own works and received international attention after being included in an important German exhibition, eventually exhibiting in Group f/64 alongside his father and Adams himself. Though Weston preferred close-ups to panoramic vistas, he did share with his pioneering predecessor an appreciation for the importance of the individual in the medium’s success: Weston said that “The camera for an artist is just another tool. Beyond the rudiments, it is up to the artist to create art, not the camera.”

Throughout his career, on photographic trips across the country and the world, Weston repeatedly focused (so to speak) on natural subjects like tangled kelp, plant leaves and knotted roots. He exhibited in his craft a preference for high-contrast imagery, examining abstract form more often by concentrating on details – historian Beaumont Newhall credited him as the first artist to make negative space the subject of a photograph.

Concurrently with the Ansel Adams show, the OKC Museum of Art will present “Brett Weston: Land, Sea and Sky,” an exhibition celebrating a recent gift of 150 Weston photographs to the museum from Christian Keesee. That’s unquestionably a large number, but it represents only part of the total picture; since 2004, Keesee has donated a total of 360 photographs, transforming the museum into a major repository of Weston’s oeuvre.

This exhibition will include pieces dating from 1940 to 1985, mainly portraying mud, rock and ice abstractions, and will also feature examples highlighting the artist’s travels to far-flung worldwide locales like Baja California, Michigan, Florida, Alaska, Mexico and Japan.

(clockwise from top) Ansel Adams “Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California,” 1944; Brett Weston, “Untitled [broken glass]” 1954; Brett Weston, “Untitled [dead leaf, Hawaii]” ca. 1985


COMING INTO FOCUS

The dual exhibits “Ansel Adams: An American Perspective” and “Brett Weston: Land, Sea and Sky” will be on display March 15 through June 1 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive. For hours or more information, visit okcmoa.com or call 236.3100.

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September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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