Wednesday, October 8, 2008

William Christenberry at Mass Art

William Christenberry Photographs, 1961 - 2005 opens this Monday, October 13 at Mass Art's Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery. Comprising much of the artist's career, the retrospective addresses many of the vernacular and cultural issues of the American South. In the press release for the exhibition, it states:

"Since the early 1960s, William Christenberry has plumbed the regional identity of the American South, focusing his attention primarily on Hale County, Alabama. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of color photography, Christenberry draws inspiration from Walker Evans, while paralleling the work of international practitioners such as Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ranging from his earliest Brownie photographs to his later work with a large-format camera, William Christenberry Photographs, 1961-2005, is a survey of the artist's poetic documentation of the Southern vernacular landscape and architecture that surrounded him growing-up. The exhibition, coupling never-before-seen photographs with images that are now iconic, reveals how the history, the very story of place, is at the heart of Christenberry's project. While the focus of his work is the American South, it touches on universal themes relating to family, culture, nature, spirituality, memory, and aging.

Christenberry photographs real things in the real world-ramshackle buildings, weathered commercial signs, lonely back roads, rusted-out cars, whitewashed churches, and decorated graves. Dutifully returning to photograph the same locations annually--the green barn, the palmist building, the Bar-B-Q Inn, among others--he fulfills a personal ritual and documents the physical changes wrought by the passing of a year. Straddling the past and present, Christenberry's art evokes the form and power of the passage of time."

William Christenberry Photographs, 1961 - 2005
October 13-December 6, 2008
Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery
621 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA

Artist Lecture: Monday, October 20, 6:00 p.m.
Reception: Tuesday, October 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Christmas Star, near Akron, Alabama. January 1, 2000

Image © William Christenberry