This unique exhibition of 40 photographs spans more than a century, presenting contemporary landscape photographer Mark James alongside early 20th century photographer Edward S. Curtis. Both artists found inspiration in the American West. While Colorado photographer Mark James focuses exclusively on the natural landscape, Curtis documented Native American tribes and in the process captured stunning landscapes as backdrops to daily life. James has drawn inspiration from Curtis and Pictorialism, the 19th century art movement that promoted photography as an art form. Throughout the exhibition the images show this influence in direct, one-to-one conversations – connecting the past to the present.
“Creating an atmosphere of contemplation is part of the exhibition installation,” noted DuMA Associate Curator Stacy Peterson. “While the picturesque landscapes photographed by both artists are a pleasure to enjoy together, their haunting similarities also provide an opportunity to consider environmental concerns and the evolution of American Indian culture over the last 100 years.”
Drawn from DuMA’s permanent collections, Curtis’ The North American Indian is considered one of the most significant photographic projects ever undertaken. Less than half of the 500 planned copies of the original portfolio, which consists of 20 leather bound volumes containing 723 of the artist’s photogravures and 20 volumes of writings, were published and sold to subscribers. DuMA’s edition, which was originally purchased by a local collector and donated to the Carnegie-Stout Public Library of Dubuque, was gifted to DuMA’s permanent collection in 2009.
Remnants of the West: Photography by Edward S. Curtis and Mark James will continue through January 7, 2018 and is sponsored by Premier Bank.