Art review: four generations of photography

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 1:33 AM

Among them are three of his descendants, who, inspired by his genius, became powerful photographers in their own right. Their work is up with a choice of their progenitor’s prints in “Four Generations of Weston: Black and White – Edward, Brett, Kim, Zach,” on view in the main gallery at Viewpoint Photographic Art Middle in midtown.

Art review: four generations of photography

Edward Weston (1886-1958) is regarded as one of the masters of 20th-century photography whose famed images of deformed peppers, erotic sea shells, nudes in sand dunes and Point Lobos landscapes have influenced generations of photographers. Among them are three of his descendants, who, inspired by his genius, became powerful photographers in their own right.

Their work is up with a choice of their progenitor’s prints in “Four Generations of Weston: Black and White – Edward, Brett, Kim, Zach,” on view in the main gallery at Viewpoint Photographic Art Middle in midtown. It's the first time, note’s Viewpoint’s Executive Director, Roberta McClellan, that this incredible collection of black-and-white photographs by one of the most artistically recognized families in the photographic art world has been presented in Northern California.

“My work purpose, my theme,” Edward Weston wrote, “can most clearly be stated as the recognition, recording and presentation of the interdependence, the relativity of all things – the universality of basic form ...”

In the exhibition we look that relativity and universality in a pairing of images of a complexly reticulated shell and an elegant nude folded in on herself, each pristine in its purity, wealthy in metaphor. Edward Weston had a specific affinity for the nude figure, baking in steaming sand or lying in the chilly shade of venetian blinds in a NY office, his camera capturing the fleshiness and humanity.

His sojourn in Mexico in the one thousand nine hundred twenty is chronicled in a well-known portrait of Diego Rivera, who, along with David Siquieros and Jose Clemente Orozco, hailed Weston as a master of 20th-century art. Weston’s interest in indigenous Mexican people and art forms is evident in a haunting image of folded hands in front of a woven shirt.

It’s grand to look a no of his prints, both well-known and lesser known on view, but one wishes there were more. The rest of the family is well represented, however.

Brett Weston (1911-93), the second of the four sons of Edward and his first wife, Flora Chandler, began taking photographs in Mexico in one thousand nine hundred twenty-fifth while living there with his father and Tina Modotti, Edward’s apprentice and lover at the time. He began showing with his father in one thousand nine hundred twenty-seventh and was given his first one-man museum retrospective at age twenty-one at the de Youthful Museum in San Francisco in 1932.

Ranging from images of NY in the one thousand nine hundred forty – a Str scene and a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge from an odd angle – to a whimsically abstracted image of a tide pool at Point Lobos in the late one thousand nine hundred seventy, they're the most tonally wealthy prints in the show. Favoring the high-gloss papers and sharp clarity of the f/sixty-four Group, of which Edward was a founding member, images love Brett’s surreal view of Mono Lake have a depth and darkness that's unique to his sophisticated work.

Kim Weston, Edward’s grandson, grew up in a rural area of the Huge Sur coastline and knew by the time he was six that he wanted to be a photographer. His first work was helping his father, Cole Weston, another of Edward’s sons, in the darkroom, fixing negatives. Later on, he assisted his uncle Brett in the darkroom for fifteen years.

A prolific photographer, he inherited his grandfather’s affinity for the nude, which he photographs outdoors in dramatic architecture as well as indoors in painted sets that frequently have a surreal edge. There is a filmic quality to images love “Lauren and Horse,” one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight, in which a circus performer lies fallen below an abstracted horse. Others, love the witty “Cat in Hat,” exhibit a playful sense of humor and classical technique. Presently in his sixty, he still shoots with film, develops his own work and prints in the darkroom.

With his wife, Gina, Kim offers photography workshops around the world. He and Gina exclusively sell his prints and Edward Weston photos from their private collection in their private gallery in the Carmel Highlands.

Their son, Zach Weston, who's in his mid-20s, grew up surrounded by classic photographs made by his great-grandfather Edward, great-uncle Brett and grandfather Cole. He was inspired to get photographs by watching his father construct sets and photograph them with an 8-by-10 large-format camera. At age seven, he'd rise early in the morning and meet his father in the darkroom to look him expand negatives and print them.

After high school, with a few lessons in the darkroom, he began developing and printing on his own and still rises early to work in the darkroom, a Weston tradition. Love his father, he frequently photographs nudes, though with a more abstract and immediate approach. In “16N,” he juxtaposes a nude’s flowing hair with the flowing grain of the bark on a tree. In “7N,” he gives us a surreal image of a nude with a Mexican Day of the Deceased mask, an homage to Edward’s Mexican imagery and a record of a continuing tradition that flourishes in CA today. His subtle, intuitive images both honor his heritage and point to a bright future.

Viewpoint Photographic Art Center, two thousand fifteen J St., Suite one hundred one, Sacramento

Noon-5 p. m. Tuesday-Saturday through June four

Free

916-441-2341

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