Saturday, April 4, 2009

High Commissions 12 New Works by Photographer Alec Soth for "PIcturing the South" Series

Sixth Photographer in Program to Create a Series Exploring the South; All Works Enter the High’s Permanent Collection

Alec Soth: Black Line of Woods
August 8, 2009–January 3, 2010

The High Museum of Art has commissioned twelve new works by Minneapolis-based photographer Alec Soth for the Museum’s “Picturing the South” photography series. For this distinctive initiative, the High commissions established and emerging contemporary photographers to produce work inspired by the American South. Past participants include Sally Mann, Dawoud Bey, Richard Misrach, Emmett Gowin and Alex Webb, whose commissions have all been added to the High’s permanent collection.

For “Picturing the South” Soth produced a series of twelve large archival pigment prints exploring spiritual and hermetic life in the rural South. The first works by the artist to enter the High’s collection, the photographs will premiere in an exhibition at the Museum this summer. “Alec Soth: Black Line of Woods” will be on view at the High from August 8, 2009, through January 3, 2010.

“This initiative offers a rare opportunity to add twelve new works by Alec Soth to our collection,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art. “The pieces acquired through ‘Picturing the South’ allow the High to build a collection of contemporary photography that resonates deeply with our regional audience, and which reinforces our position as the premiere art museum in the southeastern United States.”

“Alec Soth is one of the most talented and original photographers working today. His keen powers of observation and lyrical sensibility are richly evident in this new series, which is both compelling and conceptually relevant,” added Julian Cox, Curator of Photography at the High. “With this commission the High has acquired a significant new body of work that complements our existing holdings of photographs that address the spirit and matter of the Southern landscape.”

Soth’s suite of photographs travels through Southern backwoods, capturing flora, fauna and an unusual cast of characters living outside mainstream society in the Deep South. For this commission Soth traveled extensively throughout the South to photograph landscapes, manmade structures (tree houses, forts, cabins and tents) and people who choose to live on the outskirts of organized society (hermits, monks, campers and survivalists). Soth’s series was inspired by the writings of Flannery O’Connor, the Georgian writer whose Southern Gothic style explored social issues and revealed the cultural character of the American South. Like O’Connor’s stories, Soth’s photographs combine warmth and insight with narrative elements that convey the unique spirit of the region.
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