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Brett Weston: Working Toward Abstraction

August 28, 2021 - April 17, 2022

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Over his seven-decade career, Brett Weston (1911–1993) rose to prominence as a photographer with an eye for abstraction. With a distinctive compositional style, he frequently juxtaposed bright areas with deep-black shadows. This approach transforms negative space into shapes, flattening an image into elemental forms. No matter the location or subject—from city scenes to explorations of forests and beaches—Weston consistently revealed its potential for abstraction.

Selected from the museum’s collection, the photographs in this exhibition represent a broad range of Weston’s work from the 1940s through the 1980s. Weston was deeply committed to his practice. He spent hours each day working in the darkroom or in the field with his large-format camera. Many of the pictures on view are work prints made as preliminary investigations and might include dust spots or other minor imperfections, revealing this prolific artist’s process.

As the second son of the famous photographer Edward Weston (1886–1958), Brett Weston began his career at a young age, already exhibiting alongside his father at seventeen. Yet while he was surely influenced by the elder Weston’s work, he established his own signature style that is widely celebrated today. Visitors may also note subtle influences by other prominent modernist artists who circulated in the Westons’ orbit, for instance Frida Kahlo (1907–1954), Diego Rivera (1886–1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), and Tina Modotti (1896–1942).

This exhibition is curated by photographer Emma Powell. The museum acknowledges the generosity of the Christian Keesee Collection and the Brett Weston Archive, which kindly gifted us the majority of the photographs.

This exhibition features the documentary Brett Weston: Photographer, 1972, directed by Art Wright. For more information on this film, please visit: brettwestonphotographer.com

Images:
Brett Weston, Shoreline, Big Sur (top detail), 1981. Silver gelatin print. FA 2012.13.44.
Brett Weston, Wood and Water Reflection, Oregon, 1967. Silver gelatin print. FA 2012.13.39.
Brett Weston, Rock and Water, High Sierra, 1972. Silver gelatin print. FA 2012.13.14.
All images Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Collection, Gift of Christian K. Keesee © The Brett Weston Archive

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