Barbara Morgan: The Montages
Jan. 27 April 18, 2010

View Full Screen [opens new window]

Drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition provides a focused look at Barbara Morgan’s most innovative black and white photographs including preliminary studies which reveal the artist’s process firsthand. When Morgan made photography her principal medium in 1935, she distanced herself from "pure photography" and began experimenting. She explored photographic techniques such as double and extended-time exposures, and photomontage, the multi-layering or combining of photographic negatives into one composition. In a double exposure, the film is exposed twice, to two different images. The resulting photograph shows the second image next to, or superimposed over the first. Morgan’s multiple exposure and photomontages featured in this exhibition include fantastic cityscapes and street scenes. Produced in the 1930s and 40s, these works are among the more experimental in modern American photography.
Barbara Morgan (1900-1992) worked in all mediums, but preferred photography. She initially studied painting at the University of California in Los Angeles and then shifted her attention to photography after seeing an exhibition of Edward Weston’s work. In 1925, she married Willard Morgan, photographer and founder of publishing company Morgan & Morgan, Inc. During her career, Morgan published numerous books including “Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs” and “Summer’s Children: A Photographic Cycle of Life at Camp.” In 1991, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Photographic Insight Foundation at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.