Gary Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint

Gary Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint
Fordham Unversity's Ildiko Butler Gallery
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023

Show dates: Monday, January 20, 2014 – Friday, March 14, 2014
Opening reception: Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 6 – 8 pm

Curators: Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, Artist-in-Residence and Gallery Director for the Ildiko Butler Gallery, Hayden Hartnett Project Space, and Lipani Gallery & Joseph Lawton, Associate Professor and Director of the Visual Arts Department

Critical essay by: Edward Earle, Curator, Collections, International Center of Photography
Gallery talk: Edward Earle, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 6 – 8 pm

This exhibition is generously supported by Fordham University Art Collections & funded in part from a Fordham University Faculty Challenge Grant

Printing: Sergio Purtell at Black and White on White (with Fordham Alumni Rory Mulligan and Apollonia Colaciccio)

Catalog scanning and image adjustments: Saul Metnick

In the 1970’s, the late photographer and educator Gary Metz generated a significant body of work that was very much in the spirit of the times. Metz’s Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint challenged the first 100 years of landscape photography, which had placed a major emphasis on depicting nature as sublime, heroic, and unspoiled. Unlike previous photographers who glorified nature, Metz and his contemporaries wrenched photography out of the national parks and replaced the scenic with the vernacular of the everyday American landscape.

A number of Metz’s colleagues received wide recognition for their similar investigations culminating in the seminal 1975 exhibition, The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at the Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. Gary Metz never received the same level of acknowledgement. Now, 40 years later, his Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint is as powerful and relevant as ever, resonating with current interests in ecology and the everyday landscape.

This touring exhibition consists of twenty-one black and white photographs selected from the larger body of work, with an accompanying catalog including a critical essay by International Center for Photography Curator, Edward Earle. Confirmed venues for the exhibition include Spéos Paris London Photographic Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Syracuse University, and The University of Colorado, Boulder – significant to us as curators, as we were Gary’s students at two of the aforementioned schools. The importance of this exhibition is twofold: first, it properly sites Metz’s work within the history of the medium; as well, it marks the first time that the Fordham University Visual Arts Department has mounted a touring exhibition of this scope and caliber.

Given that Gary was an influential educator, this exhibition incorporates students in all levels of production. The exhibition prints will be made by Sergio Purtell at Black and White on White. Sergio was an undergraduate photography student at Rhode Island School of Design under Gary and currently, several of our Fordham photography graduates, Rory Mulligan and Apollonia Colaciccio are employed at Black and White on White. They will be assisting Sergio in printing this exhibition.

Saul Metnick, a student of Gary’s while an undergraduate photography student at Rhode Island School of Design has painstakingly overseen all digital scanning and image adjustments for the reproductions in the exhibition catalog, as well as for web and social media purposes.

In light of the fact that Gary Metz was a Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Director of Education at the International Center of Photography, Director of the Photography Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as in the collection of the Museum of Modern art, amongst others, it is surprising that no major exhibition of Metz’s photographs has ever been mounted. We are confident that the exhibition Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint, will reach beyond the Fordham community and receive wide attention and publicity. As educators, the opportunity to work together with students towards generating an exhibition of historical significance would be an extraordinary opportunity

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Joseph Lawton, 2013

All images courtesy of: The Estate of Gary Metz
©2013 The Estate of Gary Metz
Catalog Essay ©2013 Edward Earle