Since the late 1960s, Peter Hutchinson has explored the construction of nature and language through his photographs, collages, and films. He focuses on ecological systems of growth and decay, continuities between microscopic and macro scales, and the reciprocal relationships of text and image. This exhibition, the first museum survey of Hutchinson’s work in the United States in decades, traces his photographic practice across fifty years, beginning with documentation of seminal land art installations staged in diverse locations, from the rim of a Mexican volcano to the waters of Cape Cod. The show introduces Hutchinson’s original approach to photo-conceptualism called Narrative Art, revealing his understated, playful wit and prioritization of subjective experience. Recent works on view underscore his poetic appreciation of nature through photo-collages of fantastical landscapes that combine images from his extensive world travels and beloved garden in Provincetown, MA.
Organized by Sarah Montross, Senior Curator, with Elizabeth Upenieks, Curatorial Assistant.
Photosynthesis at deCordova
Photography has long benefitted from assumptions that it faithfully documents our world. The medium’s supposed neutrality is particularly unquestioned when used for scientific study or journalistic purposes. Upending these assumptions, Photosynthesis encompasses a suite of exhibitions at deCordova spanning diverse topics from botanical design to land art, news reportage to photo-conceptualism—fields that have relied on photography’s ability to zoom, crop, and manipulate objects of study to provide detailed visual evidence. The three exhibitions that form Photosynthesis look back to photography’s origins and foundational artists and photojournalists to contextualize contemporary notions of nature, photography, and truth. (See also: All the Marvelous Surfaces: Photography Since Karl Blossfeldt and Truthiness and the News)