Fairfield University Art Museum exhibits Larry Silver's Connecticut photographs
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Fairfield University Art Museum exhibits Larry Silver's Connecticut photographs
Larry Silver, Sitting at Water's Edge, Sherwood Island State Park, Westport, Conn., 2014/2022, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York © Larry Silver.

FAIRFIELD, CONN.- Fairfield University Art Museum is presenting 13 Ways of Looking at Landscape: Larry Silver's Connecticut Photographs, a solo exhibition by photographer Larry Silver, including over 100 works, on view March 25 to June 18, 2022.

Larry Silver — a Photo League inspired photographer still working today — moved from Greater New York to Westport, Connecticut in 1973 and, with his camera, began exploring its regional environs. This exhibition, guest curated by curator and art historian Leslie K. Brown, PhD, brings together over 40 years of Silver's work, made of and in Connecticut, and considers how he continues to push the boundaries of what landscape and looking are, and can be.

Remarking on his move from the city to the suburbs, and the attendant shift in his philosophy, Silver has written that the new setting “opened my eyes to a whole new direction in photography” and the new images “made me feel reborn.”

The first part of the exhibition’s title is a nod to poet Wallace Stevens, who also called Connecticut his home for decades, and specifically his poem, “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” Curator Leslie K. Brown explains, “Both Silver and Stevens share several synergies between their work, including focusing on the natural world and examining subjectivity, syntax, and seeing.” The installation at the Fairfield University Art Museum’s Walsh Gallery echoes Stevens’ iconic poem and has been installed in clusters. Similar to what Stevens called “sensations,” each grouping of Silver’s photographs gathers images across several of his series and reflects upon different facets of his work.

Museum executive director Carey Weber noted that “this installation will really offer the audience a unique visual and spatial experience. The curator, Leslie K. Brown, has brought together examples of Silver’s work from across Connecticut, showing different kinds of ‘scapes’—which is particularly appropriate for Fairfield University’s location and setting.”

Exuding a sense of quiet contemplation and a studied approach, Silver engages ideas of observation and framing in his lyrical compositions. Many of his photographs, for example, feature figures looking out at the view or back towards the photographer, along with scenes seen through and transformed by weather and atmosphere, light and shadow, perspectives and formats, and nature and the built environment.

The exhibition is on view in the museum’s Walsh Gallery, located in the Quick Center for the Arts, and is also accessible online through the museum’s website as a video tour.

In conjunction with the exhibition, and with the assistance of faculty liaisons Sonya Huber, associate professor, Creative Writing, and Claudia Calhoun, assistant professor, Film, TV and Media, the Fairfield University Art Museum has organized a full roster of public programs which will be presented both in person and streaming online via thequicklive.com. The written materials for the exhibition are available bilingually in Spanish and English, with translations provided by Laura Gasca Jiménez, assistant professor, Spanish and Translation Studies.

Larry Silver was born in the Bronx in 1934, and has called Westport, Connecticut his home since 1973. Silver began photographing while attending High School of Industrial Art, now High School of Art and Design, in Manhattan. During his senior year, he submitted his portfolio to the Scholastic-Ansco Photography Awards and won a full scholarship to the Art Center School, now the Art Center College of Design, in Los Angeles. While on the West Coast, Silver photographed beachgoers, gymnasts, and bodybuilders at Santa Monica Beach, which resulted in his acclaimed series “Muscle Beach.”

When he was in high school and photographing in New York City’s boroughs, Silver met many members of the prestigious and progressive Photo League, a collaborative group of documentary photographers, including Lou Bernstein, Louis Stettner, and W. Eugene Smith. A few years after graduating college, he returned to New York and opened his advertising studio in 1960. For many decades, Silver had a robust and successful career in commercial photography and maintained a personal darkroom, as he felt that creating a print is as important as taking a picture. In between photographing for clients, he also taught studio photography at the School of Visual Arts and took film classes at New York University.

Silver’s work is held in prestigious private, corporate, and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, George Eastman Museum, Fogg Museum at Harvard Art Museums, International Center of Photography, Jewish Museum; J. Paul Getty Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Whitney Museum of American Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery. He is represented by the Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York, where he has had four solo shows and was recently included in their 20th anniversary exhibition. In 2006, Silver received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Visual Arts from Westport Arts Advisory Committee.

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