Revisiting pictorialism at Maine Media

Jun 02, 2017
Photo by: Francis Orville Libby “Floating Ice – Pittsburgh” is an image by Francis Orville Libby (1883-1961), whose work is featured, in the company of work by contemporary Maine-based photographers, at Maine Media Gallery in Rockport.

Rockport — “A Keen Eye and Soft Focus - Pictorialism Revisited,” featuring work by Maine photographers inspired by the pictorialist tradition, is on view through June 24 at Maine Media Gallery, 18 Central St.

“A Keen Eye and Soft Focus,” guest curated by Susan Danly, presents the work of Francis Orville Libby (1883-1961), one of Maine’s first art photographers, a leading pictorialist and an early president of the Portland Camera Club; alongside the work of contemporary photographers who share some of his early aesthetic concerns.

For more than a century, art photography has included a range of approaches. From detailed, sharp focus images in black and white to softly focused pictures in muted color, modern photographers have produced a wealth of images that convey mood, artful expression and impressionistic views of our surroundings, both rural and industrial. The exhibition highlights work by contemporary Maine-based photographers Koichiro Kurita, Shoshannah White, David Wolfe, Amy Parish and Judy Glickman, all following in Libby’s footsteps.

Danly served as Curator of Graphics, Photography and Contemporary Art at the Portland Museum of Art from 2002 to 2011, before becoming Senior Curator in 2012. Recently retired, Danly earned a doctorate in photographic history at Brown University; and previously worked at the Mead Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Huntington Library and Art Gallery.  Among her numerous publications are books on the photographs of Edward Weston and Thomas Eakins; and “Georgia O’Keeffe and the Photograph.” At PMA, she curated numerous exhibitions devoted to the art of Maine, including three Biennial exhibitions, a series of shows dealing with historical and contemporary photography in Maine and several exhibitions of graphics from the PMA’s permanent collection. Danly co-authored “Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015,” published last year in conjunction with the Maine Photo Project.

Maine Media Gallery hours are Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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