PMA presents “Between Past and Present: The Homer Studio Photographic Project”

“Cliff Walk,” salted paper print by Alan Vlach

In conjunction with the restoration of the Winslow Homer Studio and its opening, the Portland Museum of Art presents “Between Past and Present: The Homer Studio Photographic Project,” on view through Feb. 17. This exhibition of work by five contemporary photographers features a variety of historic processes in use during Winslow Homer’s lifetime. From tintypes to platinum prints, salt prints to gum bichromate prints, these historical processes in the hands of today’s photographers simultaneously evoke the past and capture the present. “Between Past and Present: The Homer Studio Photographic “ is the sixth in a series of exhibitions called Circa, that explores compelling aspects of contemporary artists in the state of Maine and beyond.


“Roof Corner,” platinum print by Tillman Crane

The Museum commissioned a group of photographers to produce images of the Homer Studio, located in Prouts Neck, Maine, to include architectural studies, views of the landscape, interior scenes, and even still-life subjects of the few objects that survive from Homer’s day. This distinctive group of contemporary photographers, best known for their use of historic processes, includes Abelardo Morell from Brookline, Massachusetts (camera obscura), Keliy Anderson-Staley from Guilford, Maine and currently in Russellville, Arkansas (wet-plate collodion), Brenton Hamilton from Rockland, Maine (gum bichromate), Tillman Crane from Camden, Maine (platinum prints), and Alan Vlach from Trenton and Portland, Maine (salted paper prints). Their work, in some cases modified through the digital process, was on view at the Museum in conjunction with a major exhibition of Homer’s late paintings, “Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine.”

As a means of documenting the restoration of the Museum’s historic McLellan House in 2002, a series of small exhibitions called Open House also highlighted the work of contemporary photographers. A decade later, The Homer Studio Photographic Project affords a similar opportunity to provide the public with images that interpret as well as record, the significance of another, even more historic, museum property. Because of the remote and private location of the Homer Studio, the current exhibition provides Museum visitors with another means to access its spectacular coastal site and intimate working spaces. As contemporary artists, the photographers included in this exhibition have assimilated the impact of Homer’s world on their own and used the specific features of historic photographic processes to convey the connections between past and present.

The Museum showcases two Circa exhibitions per year featuring the work of living artists from Maine any beyond, in both group and solo formats. “Between Past and Present: The Homer Studio Photographic Project” is curated by Senior Curator Susan Danly.

Circa is a series of exhibitions featuring the work of living artists from Maine and beyond. Circa is made possible by S. Donald Sussman. The Portland Museum of Art, Maine’s largest art museum, showcases fine and decorative arts from the 18th century to the present. For more information call 775-6148 or visit portlandmuseum.org.

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