Exhibition captures the work of Ansel Adams
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Exhibition captures the work of Ansel Adams
Half Dome, Cottonwood Trees, Yosemite, California, 1935, Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), gelatin silver print, printed 1979. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Andrea Gray Stillman, 2018.586. Photograph by Ansel Adams © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced its newest exhibition, Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature. The exhibition, which features an iconic collection of more than 70 works by American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984), is on view at the Richmond museum from September 25, 2021, through January 2, 2022. Adam’s photography, as well as his lifelong interests in the environment and classical music, are explored, allowing visitors to gain a full appreciation of the artist through special areas of the exhibition that includes Adams’ own musical recordings.

“Through this exhibition, VMFA celebrates Ansel Adams’ photographs which so dramatically capture the sublimity of the American landscape,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA Director and CEO. “In a career that spanned more than five decades, Adams became one of America’s most recognized and influential landscape photographers and one of its more respected environmentalists. His works continue to inspire us to take a deeper, even meditative, look at our extraordinary natural surroundings and appreciate the profound beauty around us.”

Adams’ works reveal the importance he placed on the sensational splendor of natural environments that might have been overlooked by the ordinary passerby. His use of light and shadow create photographs that abound with visual details, textures and patterns and evoke an emotional response and a greater appreciation of nature from viewers. Adams’ photography also supported his lifelong involvement as an environmental activist and his black-and-white prints became his greatest influence on environmental protections and conservation efforts. His photographs continue to resonate with viewers today.

Many of the photographs featured in the exhibition were selected by Adams to represent his life’s work. VMFA complements the artist’s selections with works from the museum’s own permanent collection. Comprised of some of Adams’ most beloved images and never-before published photographs, these additions provide a comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, demonstrating changes in aesthetics and technique, as well as his keen eye for visual composition and fascination with the natural environment.

With the proliferation of photography in contemporary life, it may be difficult to imagine a time when taking a photograph was a visionary, planned and deliberate act. Adams was a pioneer and his work elevated the medium. “There are few artists whose name and works represent the extraordinary level of universal recognition and artistic achievement as that of Ansel Adams,” said Dr. Christopher C. Oliver, VMFA’s Assistant Curator of American Art. “Adams influenced the course of 20th-century photography not only through his striking, technically precise images but also through his devotion to advancing the cause of photography as an art form.”

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