Mint Museum RANDOLPH
Feb 20 2006-Feb 11 2007
/ The exhibition of the Jamaica Botanical Series provides the opportunity to view some of the early work of William Eggleston, one of the celebrated pioneers of color photography.
William Eggleston, one of the celebrated pioneers of color photography, rose to prominence in 1976 with his solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. The Mint Museum of Art’s exhibition of the Jamaica Botanical Series provides the opportunity to view some of Eggleston’s early work from 1978.
In the Jamaica Botanical Series, rather than photographing nature as a whole, Eggleston creates individual plant portraits. The focus is the plants themselves, their coloration, and the interplay between light, space and form. From the abundant flora of Jamaica, a wide range of plants are represented among these 20 chromogenic dye coupler prints. Fragile pink orchids, vibrant bougainvillea, tropical hibiscus, variegated crotons and delicate ferns flourish. The rich array of colors and textures found within the diverse vegetation of Jamaica provides dynamic subject matter.
Eggleston’s compositions are deceptive. Superficially they convey an accidental, serendipitous quality, the trait of the informal snap-shot, where the subject matter assumes the central focus. However, Eggleston uses the snap-shot style in a deliberate manner to convey more than a purely documentary image. Eggleston’s work is not so much about the object, but the environment and the interrelationship of elements. By cropping and linking elements within the frame, the photographs suggest the continuing relationship of these elements outside the pictorial space.
Eggleston's Jamaica Botanical Series is most certainly about photography and the nature of the medium, but these images are also grounded in the theory of painting with regard to color and composition. The cohesion Eggleston achieves between color, form and structure has much in common with the principles of painting. The colors, which at times are intense, are always naturalistic and convey the atmosphere of the location. William Eggleston’s interest in the environment is the incidental and the commonplace, his intent – "to capture the normal moment."