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January 24, 2000


Baltimore, MD - UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery is proud to host the exhibition Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape -- Photographs By Todd Webb. In an intimate and brilliant view of one artists' life seen through the eyes of another, this exhibition draws on Todd Webb's thirty year photographic record of O'Keeffe's life and the Southwest landscapes, rooms, and artifacts that filled her most famous compositions. The earliest of these photographs dates from 1955 and the most recent from 1981. The exhibition, organized and circulated by the Los Angeles based organization Curatorial Assistance and curated by Jack Woody, has traveled since its inception in 1989 to over 20 international sites. It rests for a limited engagement at the Kuhn Library Gallery from January 31 through March 11.

In 1946, after studying photography in Detroit under Ansel Adams, Webb met and became friends with Arthur Stieglitz and O'Keeffe in New York. It was Stieglitz who said that Webb's work "has a tenderness without sentimentality;" an admirable trait which earned him many one person shows both in the States and Europe after the Second World War. From 1955 until 1969, Webb worked for the United Nations while continuing to function as an independent freelance photographer. He earned a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography consecutively in 1955 and 1956, and was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship in 1979. Today, Webb lives and continues to work in Maine.

Throughout his career, many publications and exhibitions have highlighted Webb's intense yet sensitive compositions. In addition to this 30 year portfolio of O'Keeffe's environment, Webb has documented New York City and Parisian architecture; early Western trails and the landscape of the frontier; and Texas public buildings of the nineteenth century.

As he composed elegant yet accessible photographs of place, Webb also focused his lens on the people and human aspects of locales, drawing his unsentimental attention to the people who inhabited his world. His photographs of the everyday people in Harlem, New York, were included in the 1968 exhibition "Harlem On My Mind," shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and more recently, the 1984 exhibition "Subjektive Fotografie: Images of the 50s" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Publications that focus on Webb's work include Gold Strikes and Gold Towns (1961); 19th Century Texas Homes (1966); and Photographs of New York and Paris, 1946-1960 (1985). The catalogue Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist and Her Landscape which accompanies this exhibition is available for reference in the Library's Special Collections.

As an artist, Webb acknowledges the accountable uses of photography, conceding that "a photograph can often be used to illustrate a statement. But," he admits, "a photograph can be a statement without any explanatory treatise. Creative photography does not have anything to do with location, projects or causes as such, yet it can involve any one of them…a creative photograph is one seen through the photographer."

This exhibition was made possible at UMBC in part by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery is open Monday Friday, 12 - 4:30 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m., and Saturday 1 - 5 p.m. For more information, please call (410) 455-2270.

Posted by dwinds1 at January 24, 2000 12:00 AM