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Brett Weston in Hawaii

 

The presentation of Brett Weston in Hawaii has been extended with a new rotation of his prints being mounted January 8 and remaining on view through April 25, 2004. The current first rotation of his works is set to close January 4. The exhibition is presented in the John Dominis and Patches Damon Holt Gallery at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. (right: Brett Weston (1911-1993), Landscape, 1978, gelatin silver print)

Born in Los Angeles and son of the celebrated American photographer Edward Weston, Brett Weston (1911­1993) grew up in and later became a part of his father's circle of California-based photographers devoted to the promotion of "straight" photography -- the revelation of the poetry of external reality through the optical objectivity of the camera and meticulous printing rather than individual "artistic" statements. This exhibition showcases Weston's Hawaii-based work, with its presentation of the fifteen prints that comprise his portfolio, Hawaii, Leaves and Lava, and prints from the Brett Weston Archive now at the Academy as a promised gift.

First experimenting with photography as a youth while staying with his father in Mexico, Brett Weston quickly took it up with extraordinary skill. As a teen, he exhibited his work with his father and shared a portrait studio with him on their return to California. Not yet twenty, Weston achieved international recognition when his work was included with that of other members of Group f/64, an informal association devoted to the promotion of straight photography, in Stuttgart, Germany. (left: Brett Weston (1911-1993), Leaf on asphalt, 1978, gelatin sliver print)

Weston traveled extensively, with camera always in tow. In addition to the photographs for which he is perhaps best known, those of Point Lobos along California's Monterey Peninsula coast, he also published work, including several portfolios, based on his various wanderings. A trip to Japan in 1970 resulted in one, as did his trips to and then part-time residency in Hawaii. In 1978, he published Hawaii, Leaves and Lava. As the prints in this exhibition reveal, Weston focused on the microcosm and the macrocosm. He shot stunning close-up details and pulled back to create powerful, broader views of the physical world. Striking details of Hawaiian leaves and powerful images of the Big Island's awesome volcanic landscape are compelling for their reflections of Hawaii, as memorable expressions of life and land. (right: Brett Weston (1911-1993), Lava façade, 1979, gelatin silver print. Gift of Mr.s and Mrs. Henry B. Clark, Jr.)

This selection of prints is presented as a complement to the exhibition In Celebration of Light: Photographs from the Collection of Cherye and James F. Pierce, which opened in December 2003. Among the work of American photographers associated with f64 such as Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham being viewed in this show, there are also several major prints by Brett Weston. Included is an early and very rare Mexican subject as well as a print of Canal, Holland, one of his most celebrated photographs. Taken together, they hint at the beauty Brett Weston discovered in the world around him and his commitment to capturing it through the lens of his camera and fixing it on paper.

Curator of Western Art Jennifer Saville is coordinating both presentations.

 

 

Editor's note: RLM readers may also enjoy many previously published articles on American photography:


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