For Immediate Release
Sept. 4, 2013
Nazareth College Arts Center presents
Larry Merrill: Tree as Photograph Nov. 1 to Dec. 8
Lyrical and large-scale photographs of trees in Rochester, Central Park,
Martha’s Vineyard and Wyoming, make the ordinary surprising
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The exhibition Larry Merrill: Tree as Photograph, the artist’s newest body of work, will be on view at the Nazareth College Arts Center Gallery Nov. 1 through Dec. 8, 2013. The more than 30 large-scale digital prints feature trees in various parks around the Rochester area, as well as trees New York City’s Central Park, Martha’s Vineyard, and Wyoming. The images blend tree trunks into autumn leaves, turn a tree in bloom into a weightless cloud, and sometimes make an open question of which tree trunk is in front and which behind. The exhibitions and gallery are free and open to the public Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and Noon to 8 p.m. Friday
Larry Merrill began photographing trees in 2008 in a search for a project that was not based on privileged access to people or places. In the daily activity of walking his poodle, Tucker, Merrill began looking at the trees. “Dogs inevitably leads you to pay attention to trees,” Merrill said — and the trees rewarded his attention.
“Trees are part of every one’s experience, yet allow me to eliminate narrative, anecdote, the need for speed, and norms of composition,” Merrill explained. “They can be seen simply as trees, but with more looking they show the viewer the paradoxes of forms in space.”
His “tree” body of work is the first digital project for Merrill, who has photographed extensively in New York City and in Africa, Asia, and South America for the World Bank. Among Merrill’s goals for this project: he wanted the photographs to be lyrical, not narrative; he wanted them to be accessible; and he wanted to be able to work on them every day. They are technically straightforward, although in a few there is obvious software manipulation.
“I wanted to be able to engage the aspects of photography that had been keeping me at it these many years, such as making photographs that preserve the subject matter but also use it to examine the difference between what we see and how photography can be induced to render it,” Merrill said.
The exhibition includes a variety of subsets. There is a group of images that include his dog, which has accompanied Merrill on most of his photo outings. Another is Merrill’s interest in craft media and its functionality, evident in the exhibition via a six-foot-wide, cherry-framed photo screen based on Japanese screens, as well as a fireplace cover with images printed on aluminum with a teak mount. Merrill collaborated with Josh Bruner on the woodworking pieces and with Kathy D’Amanda of Millrace Design on the exhibition’s poster.
More About Larry Merrill
Larry Merrill’s photography has always been an exploration of ways to balance the syntax of the medium with the inherent, expressive qualities of the subject. His
influences include the endless formal inventions of Harry Callahan and the informal near chaos of Lee Friedlander.
Rochester-based Merrill is one of very few living American photographers to have had two solo exhibitions at George Eastman House, the most recent in 2011. He has had gallery exhibitions in New York City and San Francisco, and his work is in many significant public collections, notably the Yale Art Gallery, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the Johnson Museum at Cornell, the Israel Museum, and the George Eastman House.
A monograph of Merrill’s photographs taken in Manhattan were published in 2008 as the book Pedestrian Photographs by the University of Rochester Press, in conjunction with his exhibition at Memorial Art Gallery. The book features an essay by noted author Wendell Berry.
An Opening Reception for Larry Merrill: Tree as Photograph will be 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Nazareth College Art Center, 4525 East Avenue, Pittsford. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
Larry Merrill Gallery Talk at Nazareth
Merrill will give a gallery talk at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Nazareth College Arts Center. Admission is free and the talk is open to the public.
For high-res images from this exhibition, please visit https://app.box.com/s/x33x7ivkzkec89lg8siq
Mare Millow, Marketing & Publicity Manager
Nazareth College Arts Center
Dresden Public Relations