Diary/landscape

Hardcover | December 26, 2014

byJames WellingIntroduction byMatthew S. Witkovsky

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For more than thirty-five years, James Welling has explored the material and conceptual possibilities of photography. Diary/Landscape—the first mature body of work by this important contemporary artist—set the framework for his subsequent investigations of abstraction and his fascination with nineteenth- and twentieth-century New England.

In July 1977, Welling began photographing a two-volume travel diary kept by his great-grandmother Elizabeth C. Dixon, as well as landscapes in southern Connecticut. In one closely cropped image, lines of tight cursive share the page with a single ivy leaf preserved in the diary. In another snowy image, a stand of leafless trees occludes the gleaming Long Island sound. In subject and form, Welling emulated the great American modernists Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Walker Evans—a bold move for an artist associated with radical postmodernism. At the same time, Welling’s close-ups of handwriting push to the fore the postmodernist themes of copying and reproduction.

A beautiful and moving meditation on family, history, memory, and place, Diary/Landscape reintroduced history and private emotion as subjects in high art, while also helping to usher in the centrality of photography and theoretical questions about originality that mark the epochal Pictures Generation. The book is published to accompany the first-ever complete exhibition of this series of pivotal photographs, now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago.

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For more than thirty-five years, James Welling has explored the material and conceptual possibilities of photography. Diary/Landscape—the first mature body of work by this important contemporary artist—set the framework for his subsequent investigations of abstraction and his fascination with nineteenth- and twentieth-century New Engla...

James Welling’s work has been the subject of survey exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. He also participated in documenta 9 and the 2008 Whitney Biennal. Matthew S. Witkovsky is the Sandor Chair and Curator of the Departm...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 11 × 9 × 0.9 inPublished:December 26, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022620412X

ISBN - 13:9780226204123

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Table of Contents

Introduction: False Starts and Fresh Beginnings, or Welling’s World
Matthew S. Witkovsky
 
Plates
 
Diary of Elizabeth and James Dixon (1840–41) / Connecticut Landscapes, 1977–86
 
Technical Note
On Elizabeth and James Dixon
Acknowledgments
About the Artist and the Author

Editorial Reviews

“By turns elegiac and sweet and sad and funny and inscrutable, and also unfailingly beautiful. Diary/Landscape is a fine and too-rare example of the type of book that offers much imaginative space in which the viewer may—indeed, must—roam.”