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Photography exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum examines works by Strand and Gowin
Paul Strand, Village, Gaspé, 1936; Saint Louis Art Museum 73:1978; © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive.

SAINT LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum presents The Weight of Things: Photographs by Paul Strand and Emmet Gowin, a free exhibition of 70 prints spanning 100 years, including rare, vintage works of exceptional quality acquired by the Museum from Strand’s archive in 1978. The exhibition opened Friday, Nov. 8.

The black and white photographs of Americans Paul Strand (1890-1976) and Emmet Gowin (b. 1941) are marked by elegance and visual power. This exhibition presents overviews of careers in which Strand and Gowin pursued and expanded the expressive possibilities of portraiture, landscape, and still life. Preferring the rural to the urban, these photographers revel in details of the familiar and imbue the commonplace with a poetic sensibility. Strand and Gowin also emphasize the physicality of their photographs, which are crafted through specialized materials and elaborate processes in the darkroom. The exhibition title refers to their mutual efforts to evoke the weight and forcefulness of the natural world in their dense prints.

Drawing the viewer in through intimate scale and wealth of detail, the photographs of Strand and Gowin seem to radiate energy from within. Their images are not merely composed but transformed and completed through masterly printing—serving to vividly depict their subjects and to communicate their intensity of feeling. As Gowin remarks, “The photograph gives physical embodiment to our experience.”

Gowin will speak about his work in a public lecture at the Museum’s Farrell Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

The Weight of Things: Photographs by Paul Strand and Emmet Gowin is curated by Eric Lutz, associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs, and is on view in galleries 234 and 235 from Nov. 8, 2013 through Feb. 16, 2014.

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