Extensions of the Eye, curated by Laura Mintz ’12, presents photography by Barbara Morgan, Naomi Savage, and Kunié Sugiura from the Tang Collection. Using the body as a point of departure, these three artists explore issues of identity, process, and space.
About the Artists:
Kunié Sugiura (b. 1942) is a photographer who primarily makes photograms. Through her representations of shadows she captures the essence of flora, fauna, and even human beings. By employing the aesthetic of the silhouette, she grounds her artistic practice in Japanese visual history but also interlaces her works with a sense of illusionism and fantasy. In her recent series Artists and Scientists, Sugiura erases the minute characteristics that viewers expect in portraits, such as facial expressions and features, replacing them with perfectly structured compositions to grant each bodily contour its maximum visual potential. Sugiura’s works emphasize both negative and positive shapes, and her technique allows forms to appear solidly grounded but also phantasmagorical and ephemeral, as if expressing both body and soul. Sugiura currently lives and works in New York City.
Naomi Savage (1927-2005) grew up around art; her uncle was Man Ray. She studied with Berenice Abbott, and then became Man Ray’s assistant and protégée. Through his mentorship, she explored the creative possibilities of photography, including many manipulative processes. Of these techniques, Savage became best known for photographic engravings, often incorporating both the photographic print and the engraving block into one work of art. She also experimented with negative images, multiple exposures, collage, and photo etching. She used not only the camera but also post-visualization processes to transform her photographs into art objects.
Barbara Morgan (1900-1992) began her art career as a painter, and became interested in photography after curating an Edward Weston exhibition at UCLA in 1927. In 1930 she moved from California to New York City, and for a number of reasons – including her growing interest in dance, she began making photographs. Although best known for her dance photography, Morgan found inspiration in photography’s “pervasive, vibratory character of light energy…as the prime mover of the photographic process” and began creating light drawings using a camera shutter in her dark studio. In addition to light drawing, she also explored photography’s ability to “rearrange reality” through photomontage, a technique practiced by both European and Latin American photographers, but not extensively by Americans. She favored photomontage’s ability to redefine time and space by combining different images into one. Using photomontage, she layered and organized designs and patterns to convey feelings of movement and depth, also a goal of her dance photographs. Morgan also endeavored to express societal problems of her time through the creation of visual dichotomies, one of the most important revolving around the contrast between the natural and the manmade world.
There will be a reception and Gallery Talk with Laura Mintz '12 on Thursday, April 5, at 7:00 PM, in the Winter Gallery.