April 25, 2014
Familiar Strangers: Vernacular Photography- May 16-23, 2014

FAMILIAR STRANGERS: Vernacular Photography

Matthews Gallery show features anonymous photographers with an aesthetic eye

Santa Fe, NM— Matthews Gallery is home to artwork by famous names like Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but this May the gallery will mount a tribute to a different sort of artist: the unknown photographer. FAMILIAR STRANGERS: Vernacular Photography will run from May 16-23 and challenge visitors to weave stories from art with no paper trail. A reception for the exhibition will take place Friday, May 16 from 5-7 pm.

“Provenance is so important when it comes to our historic work, but brilliant art doesn’t have to have a famous name on it,” says gallery owner Lawrence Matthews. “FAMILIAR STRANGERS is a tribute to amateur artists who never got—or perhaps even sought—the recognition they deserved.”

Matthews will present his collection of vernacular photographs (also known as found photographs) in the show, with larger reproductions of the work available for purchase. Some are peculiar family photographs, like the shot of a scowling little boy on a bicycle vengefully running over the unseen photographer’s shadow. Others are strange spectacles caught in medias res, such as the photograph of a trapeze artist who has just launched from his perch.

The exhibition will call upon visitors to act as voyeurs, detectives and even neo-surrealists to gain a varied understanding of the works’ mysterious progenitors. It will trace the roots of found photography to revolutionary artists from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Marcel Duchamp, and expound on the Surrealists’ attempts to gain knowledge by freeing images from their contexts.

“Because we know so little about the photographers, the details we notice and the conclusions we draw often say a lot more about us than the people who created them,” says Matthews. “What will you see?”

Learn more about FAMILIAR STRANGERS on our exhibition page, and explore the Matthews Gallery blog for a special preview of the artwork.

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