Over his long life Frederick Sommer (American, 1905â€“1999) crafted a body of art inflected by surrealist ideas and distinguished by his meticulous love for the art of photographic printing, his broad knowledge of art history, and a keen sense of how the parts of a picture come together to produce meaning. This exhibition surveys five decades of his photography, including disorienting compositions such as Arizona Landscape (1943), a horizonless image that only gradually resolves its components into a desolate desert scene, and equally bewildering subjects such as Max Ernst (1946), in which Sommer experimented with layered negatives, superimposing an image of a rock onto a portrait of the pioneering Dada and surrealist artist to create the illusion of a human morphing into rock.
I really enjoyed this exhibit. Sommer’s work is very inspiring to say the least and work the trip to the city.
The work of Ray K. Metzker photographed in Philadelphia. Ray Metzkerâ€™s images question the nature of the photograph and photographic â€œreality.â€? Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph. Of the content of the pictures and his working method, Metzker added, â€œWhat appears in the pictures was the subjectâ€™s decision, not mine. I took what they presented â€“ delicate moments â€“ unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite.â€? Metzker used a 1975 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to pull the series together as Sand Creatures, later published as a book in 1979. There are no diptychs such as the one above in the book, though the woman in sunglasses at the bottom of Untitled (1969) is included as a solo picture.