Page 50 - Vancouver Art Gallery 2014
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Interior_Annual Report 14-10-24 4:51 PM Page 48

which can be broken down into thematic categories including Nature, Eleanor and Barbara, People, The City
and Colour.

Major Themes

Nature Callahan’s pioneering experimentation with technique is clearly demonstrated in his images of motifs
found in nature that deploy various combinations of high contrast, texture, tone and detail to produce prints that are
lucidly photographic yet suggest parallels between drawing and painting. He made prints that are almost entirely
white and prints that are almost entirely black; he made multiple exposures and produced images with blurred focus
and camera movement. For example, his series Weeds on Glass , Weeds in Snow and Grasses in Snow experiment
with high contrast in such a way that texture, tone and detail are removed, obliterating the three-dimensionality
of the photographed object. On the other hand, Callahan’s Horseneck Beach and Georgia Mountain photographs are
semi-abstract compositions that emphasize subtle variation in tone and texture to imply an equivalence between
patterns of wind-blown vegetation and the “all-over” compositions of Abstract Expressionism. Callahan’s important
and widely known Cape Cod series, begun in 1961, shares some of the formal interests of his earlier work but takes
a more naturalistic approach, depicting the ocean’s edge as an ongoing site of interaction between the forces of
nature and human activity in prints that contain remarkably precise gradations in tone.
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