Edward Weston: Life Work and William Wegman: Family Combinations (4 stars)

A pair of fascinating photography exhibitions for the price of one

comments

This article is from 2010.

Edward Weston: Life Work and William Wegman: Family Combinations

These two fascinating exhibitions by two very different photographers challenge John Steinbeck’s belief that cameras should be disparaged because ‘they are so much more sure than I am about everything.’

Weston was the natural, a pioneer and a comrade of the experimental and the progressive. A peer to Ansel Adams and a respected contemporary (though they never met) of Man Ray, Weston’s work moved from soft focus (and soft core) pictorialism favoured in America and Europe between the wars to something far more detailed, empathetic, sculptural and ultimately so perverse and pure that it can be seen as a precursor for the aspic qualities of the commercial pack shot or a surreal tendency for rendering the natural anything but.

Over two floors, a very good stab is made of encapsulating Weston’s five-decade career. From early nudes to the Mexican travels (which were to have a profound influence on him) to his landscape, vegetable and portrait work. Weston’s output was clearly phenomenal and to each new genre he brought diligence, precision and humour, whether he was expressing his inherent anarchistic sauciness in 1942’s ‘Civilian Defence (Nude with Gas Mask On)’, or showing the surrealists that if you want results you have to let nature get vaginal in the still stunning 1931 photograph ‘Shell and Rock Arrangement’.

If Weston has pushed the boundaries then dog-obsessed photographer, filmmaker and artist William Wegman has the privilege of not even seeing the line. Wegman’s thing is to create compositions featuring his own Weimaraner dogs in a variety of costumes and poses. Ideas of exploitation or cruelty quickly vanish as Wegman’s compassion and child-like humour emerges amidst the absurdia of many ridiculous scenarios. Wegman’s gift for comedy really comes into its own in his film work, the brilliant short segment films he made for Sesame Street aside. Wegman skewers the apple pie American dream with The Hardly Boys, a clean-cut tale of country pursuits and amateur detection featuring a cast of Weimaraner’s with human hands. It is the funniest thing you will see in any gallery, anywhere this festival.

City Art Gallery, 529 3993, until 24 Oct, £8 (£5).

This article is from 2010.

William Wegman: Family Combinations

  • 4 stars

Exhibition exploring the photographic partnership between contemporary artist William Wegman and his beloved family of Weimaraners. Child-like humour and absurd scenarios abound in a skewering of the genre of formal portraiture that gives rise to real comedy.

Edward Weston: Life Work

  • 4 stars

Survey exhibition of work by this iconic American photographer containing vintage prints and previously unpublished works. A contemporary of Man Ray, his work focuses on form and sculpture in beautifully-rendered black and white.

Edward Weston: Close-up Collages Family Workshop

  • 4 stars

Taking inspiration from Weston’s beautiful photographs of natural forms such as fruits and vegetables participants will create large-scale collage images from still-life arrangements. Booking is essential. Part of the 2010 EAF.

Edward Weston: Life Work

  • 4 stars

A survey of the work of this iconic American photographer. Contains 117 vintage prints and previously unpublished masterpieces interspersed with signature images. Part of the 2010 EAF.

William Wegman - Big zzzzzz’s Family Workshop

  • 4 stars

What does your pet dream of? Create an image of your favourite animal and place it in a wonderful Wegman style setting. Booking essential. Part of the 2010 EAF.

William Wegman - Focus on Dogs Printmaking

  • 4 stars

Inspired by Wegman’s photographs, try your hand at creating quirky images of your own pets, using printmaking techniques to layer images to create artworks. Adult workshop. Booking essential. Part of the 2010 EAF.

William Wegman: Family Combinations

  • 4 stars

Family Combinations, an exhibition by internationally renowned contemporary artist William Wegman, has been organised in collaboration with the artist’s studio in New York. This is the first comprehensive show of Wegman’s work in Scotland and the only opportunity to catch this exceptional and unique photographic display…

Comments

Post a comment