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‘Ansel Adams CALIFORNIA’ opens Carnegie Arts Center

‘Ansel Adams CALIFORNIA’ opens Carnegie Arts Center

“Irrigation Lettuce Field Salinas Valley” is just one of the 125 photographs and pieces of Ansel Adams memorabilia in the CALIFORNIA exhibit that focuses exclusively on the legendary photographer a...


POSTED August 30, 2011 7:47 p.m.

From the majesty of Yosemite’s Half Dome to the allure of a budding field of lettuce, the photographs by Ansel Adams that captured the splendid beauty of California will also be ushering in a new era at that Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.

“Ansel Adams CALIFORNIA” will be the inaugural exhibit at the Carnegie Arts Center when the doors open Sept. 10.

 “We are proud and delighted to begin again,” says Patricia O’Donnell, president of the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation, “with an exhibit that enables us to celebrate California as a whole and central California, in particular, through the eyes of Ansel Adams.”

Consisting of more than 125 photographs and pieces of memorabilia, this is the first Ansel Adams exhibit to focus exclusively on the legendary photographer and his deep connection to the natural beauty found in the Golden State, said Rebecca Phillips Abbott, the Carnegie’s executive director and curator.

“The show will include the iconic landscapes by Adams, as well as agricultural and urban images and portraits, all in keeping with its California focus,” Abbott said. “Even those familiar with the photographs of Ansel Adams will find something new and exciting here.”

The Carnegie was able to convince Jeanne Falk Adams, the photographer’s daughter-in-law and curator of the exhibit, to bring the display to the newly rebuilt arts center after giving her tour of the facility.

“Her enthusiasm for bringing the display here increased tenfold after she saw the center,” Abbott said.

The exhibit will include some of Adams’ iconic photographs and about a half dozen images that have either never or rarely been shown publicly, Abbott said.

Abbott predicts the exhibit will find a favorable reception locally, as well as bring in visitors from all over.

“Ansel Adams never made a photograph that was anything other than clear, sensitive and beautiful,” Abbott said.  “The exhibit has a real sense of pride and place.”

Clarity, depth and an unmatched skill of tonal contrast, are among the hallmarks of Adams’ photographs. The photo “Moon and Half Dome,” included in the exhibit, was one of the last masterpieces by Adams and he wrote about the making of it: “I was driving a bit aimlessly around the valley one winter afternoon, when I clearly saw an image in my mind's eye of Half Dome as the moon rose over its right shoulder. I parked my car and with my Hasselblad and tripod firmly positioned across my shoulder, I strode over the snowy field until I found the place that best revealed the scene."

In addition to the photographs, the exhibit will include memorabilia from Adams’ childhood into adulthood, including “In the Heart of the Sierras” by J.M. Hutchings, the book Adams read as a child that introduced him to Yosemite. Also included are the Sept. 3, 1979, Time magazine cover picturing Adams, “The Master Eye,” and the citation accompanying the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented to Adams by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

“All the memorabilia, especially those from his childhood, give us a strong fell for Ansel Adams as a person,” Abbott said.

Michael Adams, son of Ansel Adams, will deliver a lecture at 2 p.m. Sept. 11, at the Carnegie.

In addition to the Adams exhibition and running concurrently with it is “Picturing California: Works by Regional Artists,” which echoes the California focus of the Adams show.

“The Carnegie Arts Center will always be a vital part of the local community even as we work to fulfill our potential as one of the region’s premier visual arts centers,” Abbott said. “Local artists bring a special sensibility to their works, one that will enrich the experiences of visitors immeasurably.”

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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