Synthesizing Icons: Composite Photographs by Larry Blackwood Opens at the MonDak Heritage Center
June 10, 2020 | View PDF
The MonDak Heritage Center and MAGDA (Montana Art and Gallery Directors Association) are pleased to present Synthesizing Icons: Composite Photographs by Larry Blackwood. Please join us to view the innovative amalgamations by Larry Blackwood on display through August 29.
Blackwood, while practicing photography for 40 years, is mostly a self-taught artist. By transposing photographs, patterns, and imagery popular in the Western art scene, Blackwood is able to push the traditional boundaries of his medium and subject matter. Blackwood's new approach to animals of the Yellowstone/Glacier geography, such as crows, ravens, buffalo, and magpies, are fused with literary, cultural, and mythical icons to create a universe that, while calm and placid, can be simultaneously dystopian.
Synthesizing Icons will include 18 composite photographs by Blackwood. In this case, composite photographs are works of art where the artist takes original photographs and passes them through a computer program such as Photoshop. Within the program, by blending photographs, repeating images and other techniques, the artist fuses technical photographic prowess with computerized experimentation. In this case, Blackwood creates Surrealist tableaux that are ethereal, combined with a mysterious and leering narrative. Many of the works seem to capture a scene in the middle of the tale, portending an aberrant and unexpected conclusion.
In his interview with micro-magazine Under the Gum Tree, Blackwood details the random nature of his process, in that a single work can distill in little time, or other images will take weeks of tweeking: "I spend hours sometimes wandering around with a camera without getting any workable photographs. Other times interesting results occur on the spur of the moment. On the processing end of the effort, some images require very little work in the digital darkroom. Other images however take hours to perfect to my satisfaction. Recently I worked on a particular image off and on for several weeks and consulted a printing expert in regard to colors etc. before I was able to get a reasonable starting print. Even then I printed and tweaked the image 20 more times before finally getting it just the way I wanted."
Born and raised in Kansas, Blackwood has lived in Montana for over three decades. He worked as a Statistician for 30 years, all the while pursuing photography on the side, until 2007, when he decided to focus art alone. Blackwood has had major solo exhibitions in the West, including Wichita Art Museum; Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls, ID; Viewpoint Photographic Center in Sacramento, CA; and at Montana State University and the Emerson Cultural Center for the Arts in Bozeman, MT. His work has been published in major fine art photography publications including Lenswork, B&W, Shots, Color, and the Best of Photography Annual. Awards in international photography competitions include the World Photography Awards and the B&W Spider Awards. Blackwood currently resides in Bozeman and has become a fixture in the local art scene while organizing several Bozeman Art Salons each year.
Synthesizing Icons is a MAGDA exhibit. The Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA) was organized in 1972 through the cooperative efforts of Montana's gallery directors. The purposes for which this corporation was formed are to encourage, develop, and accomplish the public exhibition of a diverse range of the visual arts by originating and/or touring exhibitions; to disseminate technical information regarding gallery and museum operations; to develop and support public interest in, and knowledge of, the cultural resources and heritage of the State of Montana; and to procure and provide financial support for the accomplishment and continuation of these purposes.
The MonDak Heritage Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call 406-433-3500 or e-mail [email protected] Visit us at http://www.themondak.org or on Facebook at MonDakHeritageCenter.