Griffin/DSI Gallery • Boston, MA • March 2011
My studio visit began with previously unseen prints made from a challenging visit to the Mutter Museum and the Spallanzani Collection. These haunting images were forensic studies of human and animal abnormalities categorized and cataloged for study and viewed by 19th century collectors as a source of investment and entertainment. It was a courageous body of work to photograph and it was bold to exhibit it. Rantoul is known for his sweeping aerial landscapes and methodical architectural studies, both devoid of people. Collections was a striking departure for this established photographer.
Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
Guests attending last evenings gallery opening of the Griffin Museum of Photography @ Digital Silver Imaging were challenged to view the haunting elegance of anatomical specimens from the Mutter Museum in Philadelpia and the Lazzarro Spallanzani collection in Regio Emilia, Italy. Noted landscape photographer, Neal Rantoul, took a courageous departure by pulling back the curtain on this slice of human experience with grace and candor. Boldly curated by J.Sybylla Smith the 18 images of animal and human studies move beyond voyeuristic curiosity to ephemeral beauty.
A steady stream of seasoned photo educators, staff and board members from Northeastern, Boston’sPhotographic Resource Center and the Griffin Museum including Glen Ruga, Director of the PRC, George Slade, and Cathy England concurred the work was “Luminous”, “beautiful”, “striking” and “strong”. Represented byPanopticon Gallery, owner, Jason Landry and Neal’s colleagues were pleased to see the new work in this intimate venue. A special edition book including extensive images from both collections along with the taxidermy from Cabelas is available for sale. Theselenium toned silver gelatin and giclee ink jet prints are available in limited editions.
We are all looking forward to Rantoul’s gallery talk on February 3rd. We are eager to hear him take us on the journey prompted by an NPR interview by Terry Gross with Gretchen Warden in 2002 on the Mutter to his international travels to illuminate and record this historic tradition.