February 5 - June 20, 2021
Throughout his career, Carl Chiarenza (American, b. 1935) has demonstrated that photographs can provide much more than just documentary evidence. Rather than create straightforward records of the cast-off materials that appear before his camera, Chiarenza photographically transforms them into new and provocative images. His photographs often bear little resemblance to their actual subjects and instead suggest mysterious worlds that viewers are invited to explore.
This retrospective exhibition spans the Rochester-based artist’s entire career, beginning with early photographs Chiarenza made as an undergraduate student at Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1950s and concluding with a large selection of his most recent work in collage. The exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to follow the continuities and ruptures in Chiarenza’s artistic journey as his career enters its seventh decade.
This exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with text by curator Will Green and Keith Davis.
Click below for full entries. See News & Exhibitions page for a complete history of posts.
18 Yosef Rivlin Street
Carl Chiarenza has been an important presence in American photography since the time that I began making images. For me, with my background in landscape oriented work, many of his images evoke a landscape that was never was but might come into being at any moment. He calls these “Landscapes of the Mind”.
His abstract images are constructed from torn paper, pieces of things, collages that he makes, photographs and often discards, saving only the image. Carl said that he once aspired to make photographs of the land, but when he went outside to photograph, he came back only with mosquito bites. In 1979, he began working in the studio, where he has remained ever since. Carl stated about his work, “what I’m doing is responding to things the way composers respond to sound.” His photographs are silent music. Chiarenza’s prints are in all the great public collections and have been exhibited widely; it is a privilege to have them here at Vision.
New Monograph by LensWork
with text by Bill Johnson
65 images, 72 pages
Book dimensions: 9" wide by 8" tall
In this volume, we are delighted to bring attention to Carl Chiarenza’s important 1988 monograph, Landscapes of the Mind. This museum-quality hardbound is now an expensive collectible that is difficult to find. Chiarenza’s images, however, are still as captivating and mesmerizing as they were in his 1988 publication. If you’ve not seen his book, perhaps the images in this LensWork Monograph will explain why we are so motivated to introduce Chiarenza to those who might not be acquainted with his creative vision — which, by the way, continues. Many of the images in this LensWork Monograph are new, and demonstrate Chiarenza’s evolving vision and his ongoing explorations of landscapes of his mind.
Interview with Charles Giuliano
August 7, 2019
During graduate study at Boston University photographer Carl Chiarenza was a professor, mentor and friend. We spoke at length about how JFK and the Vietnam War nudged him into studying art history. At Harvard he was the first American to write a dissertation on photography. It was a biography and critical study of then living American icon Aaron Siskind. Now retired from the University of Rochester he continues to create new work.
“Each episode in the Symphony,” Stravinsky wrote, “is linked in my imagination with a specific cinematographic impression of the war. But the Symphony is not programmatic. Composers combine notes—that is all. How and in what form the things of this world are impressed upon their music is not for them to say.”