An installation of 70 gelatin silver prints by Wendy Paton are on view in “Wendy Paton: Nuit Blanche” at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown from Saturday, August 23 through December 7 in the Commonwealth and Pfundt Galleries.
An award winning fine art photographer, Wendy Paton was in the throes of a successful, ground breaking career training and driving Standardbred race horses in New York, when in 1981, her interest in photography emerged. She studied at the International Center of Photography in New York, learned the intricacies of night photography from Michael Kenna, and darkroom printing techniques from her mentor and collaborator, master printer Chuck Kelton.
The Michener exhibition consists of two bodies of work: “Nuit Blanche” comprises a premiere selection of Paton’s Visages de Nuit, complemented by a collection of her latest series, Reclaiming Dignity.
Visages de Nuit, is a collection of 51 black and white candid night portraits, shot over a six-year period from 2006 to 2012 in various international cities. The series of nocturnal images explores the mystery of the night and brings the viewer into her subject’s nighttime world. Ms. Paton’s dark and gritty images purposely convey her interpretation of the surreal quality of life at night, and what is hiding behind what we normally view as reality.
Reclaiming Dignity is a portfolio of the photographer’s vision of “abstract portraits,” faces and bodies of neglected cars, once coveted for their style, beauty, speed, and grace, left unattended and ignored for years, then given a chance to once again be admired and coveted; an opportunity to “reclaim their dignity.”
Both Visages de Nuit and Reclaiming Dignity share the common thread of a strong desire to visually document a contemporary vision of “portraits,” a creative portrayal of what the artist observes through her camera’s lens.
The execution of this work, size of prints, the choice to use black and white film, and the conscious style of printing in a traditional darkroom, were all vital in allowing Paton to produce this exhibition of gelatin silver photographs with the desired strong, emotional impact.
This exhibition is curated and organized by Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director and CEO of the Michener Art Museum and is supported by an anonymous friend of the Museum in honor of Padmini and Rajan as well as by Jay and Barbara Belding and Sandra and Conrad Leon. In-kind support is provided by Brilliant Graphics and Paris Framemakers.
Ms. Paton will speak about her work at the museum on September 16; she will conduct a weekend studio workshop, “Making Photograms/Darkroom & Cyanotype Technique,” from October 18 through October 19.
The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, Pa.
For more information, call (215) 340-9800, or visit: www.michenermuseum.org.