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'Creative Continuum'
at Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross


Wynn Bullock, 'Child in Forest,' 1951, gelatin siver print, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2'

Continuing through November 28, 2010

In Wynn Bullock's "Child in Forest," from 1951, a nude child lies face down on a verdant forest floor, with vegetation seemingly closing in. Is it evocative of humanity's place in nature, or something more sinister? This famous photo was the opening work in the landmark  "Family of Man" exhibition in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and it now steals the spotlight in "Creative Continuum," a sampling from the vast archives from the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. Another Bullock work, "Let There Be Light" (1954), shines as a paean to an ocean sunrise, reinforcing what this photographer once said about light being "the most profound truth in the universe."

From landscape photography, the exhibit shifts to abstract expressionism with works such as Aaron Siskind's "Vera Cruz 198" (1973), a study in texture depicting newspaper peeling off a wall. Siskind, an under-appreciated name in 20th century photography, typically explored decay and regeneration. This rich survey of black-and-white prints - which also includes Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan and Edward Weston - reassures all viewers of the dramatic power, range and depth of art photography in the hands of masters.

Phoenix Art Museum

Phoenix Art Museum

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