Mutuality in Dichotomy: Photography from the Permanent Collection
Aerial-photography and close-up photography of ordinary surfaces create similar confusions for the viewer. Both types of photography create visual landscapes from the physical environment by selecting and framing a specific area from the immensity of the physical world. The former has its roots in geographic surveying, while the latter is derived from art, specifically the Modernist pursuit of abstraction, which rejects illusions of reality in images. Despite differences in scale and intended function, both practices produce what could be perceived visually as abstract patterns. Such mutuality transcends the specificity of subject matter. People may find it difficult to visually link a photograph to either subject because of the common sense of what surfaces or geographic landscapes look like. What causes a mutuality that speaks across the dichotomy between the scale and function of the two practices? Could it be the image-maker’s rational choice, a proclamation of how they believe the physical environment should be framed? Could it be subconscious identification of what is visually pleasing and worth recording, a more romantic approach? Or, are they examples of the way Modernist thoughts influenced photography as an image-making system? This exhibition explores these questions through examples drawn from the permanent collection of the Pomona College Museum of Art.
“Mutuality in Dichotomy: Photography from the Permanent Collection” is curated by Vivienne Yixuan Shi (PO ‘19). It is the fifth in a series of exhibitions developed by student curators under the Benton Curatorial Internship and Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at the Pomona College Museum of Art. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated brochure.