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 Nature on Display

The de Saisset offers a trio of interesting exhibits by northern California artists

Visitors to the de Saisset Museum this spring can see early experiments in color photography, a wall of portraits that look as real as photographs, and studies of nature.The following exhibits are on display now through June 30:

Seeking Answers: Photographs by Wynn Bullock

Wynn Bullock was a Carmel-based photographer who worked around the same time as Ansel Adams and other prominent California photographers. He is known today primarily for his landscape photos, but this exhibition will explore another facet of his work: his love of experimentation.

The exhibition of about 50 black-and-white photos and half a dozen “color light abstractions” will show Bullock’s very early experimentations with color and light. “He was working with color just as it was coming into vogue and they were developing the processes to be able to produce color imagery,” said Lindsey Kouvaris, curator of exhibits and collections at the de Saisset Museum. “He was always wanting to push the boundaries and thinking about new ways of working.”

Some of the works come from the museum’s permanent collection, and others are on loan from Bullock’s family. “It is the first time anyone has really looked at this element of abstraction in his work,” Kouvaris said.

On Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m. Kouvaris and Barbara Bullock-Wilson, daughter of the artist, will come together to share the stories behind the images. The program is free and open to the public.

*Wynn Bullock, Cactus, 1958, gelatin silver print, Courtesy of the Bullock-Wilson Trust © Bullock Family Photography, LLA. All rights reserved.

Face: Portraits by Valentin Popov

Oakland-based artist Valentin Popov picks up on an idea that originated with Andy Warhol to cover a galley with portraits of exactly the same size. Popov is about halfway to his goal of 100 portraits of people who have “really meant something in his life,” Kouvaris said. The subjects include figures in the local art community, the artist’s friends, and his neighbors.

“There’s a huge variety in the way he’s experimenting with color and style,” Kouvaris said. “You almost feel like they’re jumping off the canvas, they’re so alive.

*Valentin Popov, Robert Flynn Johnson, 2011, oil on canvas, Private Collection, San Francisco.

Henrietta Shore: Understanding Nature

Henrietta Shore was a contemporary of Georgia O’Keefe who was born in Canada and eventually settled near Carmel.

“She was really interested in nature, wanting to understand nature’s forms,” Kouvaris said. Her work fell into obscurity after her death but was resurrected in the mid 1980s. The works on exhibit are drawn from the museum’s permanent collection.


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