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The nude has been a muse to artists as long as there has been art. Another venerable idea – presenting multiple views of the same nude model – dangles the enticing promise of getting a glimpse into the creative process. Master photographer and workshop instructor Karin Rosenthal has created just such a gathering of perspectives in “37 Photographers/One Model”, displaying a selection of the imaginative ways that the features of one anatomically advantaged, remarkably agile, white male dancer in his fifties has been envisioned in the landscape over several years. This enticing show accompanies Rosenthal’s solo retrospective, “The Human Landscape”, highlighting three separate periods of her work. Both shows will be on view throughout all galleries at the Griffin Museum of Photography through June 12, 2016.
Rosenthal has been photographically exploring the nude in landscape for a few decades, combining that most perfect of forms – the human body – with the infinitely tricky but generous elements of light and water. But her work has very little to do with either the nude or the landscape. Rather, by inventively exploiting nature’s toolbox of shadows and reflections, Rosenthal transcends the boundaries of each. She posits, “There’s an alchemy that happens when water, light and the body come together.” Her photographs become allegories of life, stirring with psychological and metaphysical inferences.
Presenting work at the Griffin Museum from her early B&W Nudes in Water, color images from her Tide Pool series and B&W images from her more recent Inheriting Loss, Rosenthal meditates on our deep connection to the natural world. The graphic, symbolic and emotional power that she achieves in these images through different periods is an ode to her creativity. And now she’s invited her students onto this shaky stage, fraught with the risk for overwrought, glib or controversial imagery. A tough challenge for any photographer.
From all indications, Rosenthal has been an inspiring and effective mentor. Utilizing the same male model and predominantly B&W capture (like Rosenthal), the 36 workshop students she selected to exhibit several prints in this show have experimented in captivating ways with the implications of framing, the symbolism of double exposures, the power of abstraction, the dynamics of motion, the essence of reflections, the temperature of color and the purity of classic grey scale photography. There are, of course, many nods to the mentor and even a couple of brave tributes to Arno Minkkinen, a legendary master of nude landscape.
The 36 photographers featured in this exhibit, alongside Karin Rosenthal are: Jim Baab, Sudha Basavaraj, Richard Dana, Bill Davison, Yair Egozy, Pippi Ellison, Jim Fesler, Maria Fonseca, David Fox, Tim Heatwole, Moti Hodis, Jerrie Hurd, Doug Johnson, Catherine King, Ryck Lent, Richard Lord, Chris McFarlane, Sepp Meier, Yair Melamed, Ralph Mercer, Thomas Mikelson, Judith Monteferrante, David Parish, Lisa Pelonzi, Lee Post, Larry Pratt, Kathleen Ranney, Karin Rosenthal, Steve Schmidt, Tony Schwartz, Ron St. Jean, Jim Strong, David Thomas, Anthony Wallen, Len Ward, Trish Wright and David Weinberg. Some of their photographs speak for themselves right here. However, there are many talented photographers in this group and you can experience Rosenthal’s grand experiment for yourself until June 12, 2016.
For more information about this show, or to purchase the exhibition catalog, go to:http://www.griffinmuseum.org/blog/exhibits-griffin-museum-of-photography/
Feature Image: “Dimpled Landscape, 1994” by Karin Rosenthal (courtesy of the artist).