Emmet Gowin: Photographs
February 19–March 28, 2009
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Emmet Gowin: Photographs. The exhibition commemorates the reprinting of Gowin’s first monograph, Emmet Gowin: Photographs (Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), by exhibiting over 40 gelatin silver prints reproduced in the book. The photographs on view represent the first body of work in Gowin's long, varied, and distinguished career.
Following his marriage to Edith Morris in 1964, Gowin began taking portraits of his wife and extended family in Virginia. Capturing the ordinary yet intimate moments of everyday life, these photographs often resemble personal snapshots: his niece Nancy in the grass with dolls; Edith in their living room on Christmas morning; Edith and her two sisters in the backyard. Apart from their domestic setting and familial subjects, however, Gowin's pictures transcend documentation. Gowin's sensitivity to the nuances of daily events coupled with formally elegant compositions imbue his photographs with particular gravity. Honest, tender, spontaneous, and humorous in tone, they are personal yet universal reflections on the close bond shared between relatives. Some of Gowin's photographs feature images within a circular frame, a visual device discovered by chance in 1967. Allowing the camera lens to dictate the shape of the image, Gowin invites viewers to take a privileged glimpse, as if through a peephole, into his private world.
An influential figure in the history of photography, Emmet Gowin (b. 1941, Danville, VA) received an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1967. While at RISD, he studied with photographer Harry Callahan, who, along with Frederick Sommer, became one of his mentors and greatest influences. Since 1973 Gowin has been on the faculty at Princeton University, where he is currently a professor of photography in the Visual Arts Program. Gowin is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1974), two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1977, 1979), a Pew Fellowship in the Arts (1993), the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University (1997), and the Princeton Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities (2006).
For nearly four decades, Gowin's work has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, with solo shows and retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971); the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1983); the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1990-93); the Espace Photographie Marie de Paris (1992); the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven (2002); the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (2003); the El Paso Museum of Art (2004); and the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge (2004). His photographs can be found in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Tokyo Museum of Art.
Monographs include: Emmet Gowin: Photographs (1976); Emmet Gowin: Photographs, 1966-1983 (1983); Emmet Gowin/Photographs: This vegetable Earth is but a shadow (1990); Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth (2002); and Mariposas Nocturnas – Edith in Panama (2006).