One of my main agenda when traveling abroad this year has been checking out museums and galleries to check what world-class photography looks like, to find inspiration, ideas, and benchmarks for my own practice. As I've written before, photography does not yet have a high level of awareness as fine art in the Philippines, so I wanted to gather ideas for how to help elevate it to that level back home.
So I made sure not to miss visiting the Colorado Spring Fine Arts Center near downtown Colorado Springs. I was not disappointed, as they had a interesting and diverse collection of photography, paintings, and other art.
Heading up to the second floor, I began with checking out the photography. Me being me, I gravitated towards the biggest prints first. (Quick note: sorry for the stripes caused by the fluorescent lights on the images!)
The impression these photos gave me further validated my idea that huge prints, executed well --- meaning you can be nose-distance from them and they still look great --- transform a photograph from decoration into something else entirely. For subjects like this, the combination of large size and quality imbue them with a gravity they wouldn't have at smaller sizes.
Bigger isn't always better of course. Loved this image as well as the choice of framing from Quintin Gonzalez:
In an adjacent gallery, I was surprised and thrilled to find this collection of illustrations from Salvador Dalí of Dante's Divine Comedy.
More from the collection:
Moving on, I passed by this impressive hanging sculpture, though I'm sorry I missed the details on the artist and title.
Wandering further, I was captivated by these panoramic landscapes by Earl Biss (1947-1996), a Native American artist who was influenced by Abstract and French Impressionism. I also loved the use of canvas for the matting (click to enlarge).
Another piece that I lingered on, by Sam Scott (b. 1940):
Some more landscapes that I wanted to remember:
And a sketch by Edward Hopper!
I was floored by the quality and execution of these massive 4'x6' prints. I wrote earlier that I was looking for proof that printing big perfectly changes everything --- this was indisputable evidence of that. The artist's aim was to capture "the pride, dignity and beauty of those experiencing homelessness in Colorado Springs in a series of photos that will challenge the way you think about this marginalized group of people." By producing these massive, almost regal but also understated pieces, he made the medium into his message.
You can tell the size of these buy looking at my reflection on the acrylic. They are 100% flawless and sharp even from inches away. I couldn't actually even tell what these were printed on until I e-mailed the artist himself.
When I found out what they are (they're c-prints face-mounted onto acrylic with an aluminum backing), I became obsessed with mounting my work this way - alas, I have yet to find a supplier in Manila that can execute this tedious and labor intensive process. Meaning, if I want my stuff done like this, I may have to import my own work. Which sucks and is expensive so if anyone can hit me up with a quality supplier of this in Manila THAT WOULD BE PHENOMENAL.