Over the last 20 years, photography has diverged from its documentary and journalistic roots and has taken on characteristics often associated with painting—large scale, abstract content, and symbolic representations. As the boundaries of artistic media become blurred, artists have increasingly used photography to explore the expressive fictions that we expect from painting. In addition, looking at photography today recalls looking at paintings: one experiences a displacement of reality within the images, suspending any expectations of factual representation. People See Paintings examines how photographic images have adopted the traditions of painting—including the portrait, the still life, the historical genre as well as painting styles such as impressionism and abstraction—as manifested in a selection of works from the MCA Collection from the 1940s to the present.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by Margie and Bill Staples, Don Kaul and Barbara Bluhm-Kaul, Jim and Barbara Hanig, and Mary and Richard Gray.