Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Preece retrospective at the Nevada Museum of Art

Preece, Unsettled Grid, 2014

This summer the Nevada Museum of Art celebrates forty years of experimental photography by the great darkroom pioneer Nolan Preece with a long-awaited retrospective of his work.  You've seen some of it on this blog, along with his writings, but never together in one space.  Here it is.  Until August 10.

Mounted in spacious quarters in downtown Reno on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the show is a revelation of Nolan's journey from early efforts in the glassprint or cliché-verre technique, such as Dancer below, through a more recent, sustained period of chemigrams, some dramatically life-sized.

Preece, Dancer, 2001
Installation view

It's a must-see event, especially if you're a student of analog photographic abstraction, because there's no place else we know of to enjoy such a wealth of invention, of unabashed joy in the making of pictures using just developer and fixer and maybe one or two other odd chemicals lying around the studio - and light and paper.  He's a wizard with materials.  After spending an hour looking at his pictures, you will want to stop by the gift shop, buy supplies and make some yourself.  If only it were that easy.  The good news is that he does offer workshops and you may contact him for details.

Another installation view

Preece, Hole in Zone O, 1989

Preece, Silver Conglomerate, 2012

Rich Turnbull and I flew out for the opening.  It was a beautiful evening, a band played, drinks were served and before long everyone had a chance to file in and pay attention.  A great setting for wonderful art.

Rooftop, at the opening

Nolan's website is