William Wegman and Edward Weston mark City Art Centre reopening
EAF presents first major Scottish show from two great photographers
This article is from 2010.
Celebrating the reopening of the City Art Centre after a period of refurbishment are two photographic exhibitions by American artists: Edward Weston, one of the great classical photographers of the 20th century, and the contemporary photographer William Wegman.
Reflecting on the decision to pair the two artists, curator Ian O’Riordan explains that they chose Wegman’s large scale and rather humorous digital prints as a complement and contrast to Weston’s small and very classical works.
Renowned as one of the most innovative and influential American photographers, Weston’s black and white oeuvre spans five decades. This exhibition showcases his repertoire of nudes and landscapes, his still lifes of the 1920s taken in Mexico, and also includes the last picture he ever took.
Wegman has been working in the field of conceptual photography and video since the 1970s, but today he is probably best known for photographing his own troupe of Weimaraner dogs. The works in the exhibition feature Polaroids, chromogenic, silver gelatin and digital prints as well as a selection of video segments starring Wegman’s canine muse Fay, together with her charming offspring.
One of the things that brings these two photographers together is their ability to capture human qualities in animals and inanimate objects: Wegman’s Weimaraner admires herself in reflected glass and Weston’s series of peppers appear like muscular human limbs.
O’Riordan, who first came across Weston’s desert nudes as a young student, says: ‘It is just so spectacular the way he looks at the human body in a totally different way. It has that ambiguity of a Mapplethorpe body builder, and then the way he presents landscape is so different but absolutely within the tradition of modernism and surrealism’.
The role of the muse is an interesting one to trace within the practice of both these two prolific artists: for Wegman it is the complex personality of his dog and for Weston his most important influence and inspiration was fellow photographer Margrethe Mather with her uninhibited lifestyle and photographic vision.
This is the first major show in Scotland for both artists and a double dunt treat not to be missed at this year’s festival.
William Wegman: Family Combinations / Edward Weston: Life Work, City Art Centre, 529 3993, until 24 Oct, £8 (£5).