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For immediate release: April 30, 2002

Contact: Ruta Smithson (609) 258-3763, rutas@Princeton.EDU

Contemporary photographers featured at Art Museum, April 20-May 26

Exhibition Dates: April 20 through Mary 26, 2002

PRINCETON, NJ -- "Contemporary Views: Photographs by Paul Berger, Sarah Charlesworth, Barbara Ess, and Ray K. Metzker," on view at the Princeton University Art Museum from April 20 through May 26, 2002, brings together recently acquired works by four contemporary photographers.

"The works exhibited add depth to the museum's holdings by these artists and show the nature and range of their visual concerns over an extended period," notes Peter C. Bunnell, faculty curator of photography and the David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University, who organized the exhibition.

Charlesworth and Ess work in color, and Paul Berger now works exclusively with electronic or digital techniques. Ray K. Metzker remains strongly committed to the traditional black and white medium of photography.

Throughout most of Paul Berger's career, he has focused on unconventional subject matter and the appropriation of preexisting images, which he recombines or reconfigures. For example, in the series "Seattle Subtext," he uses the structured, highly designed format of a news magazine, or, more recently, computer generated works that make use of television iconography: newsmen, political figures, weather charts, graphs, and military hardware. These single prints echo the sometimes garish colors and montaged images of TV.

Sarah Charlesworth's laminated color prints with lacquered wood frames are objects of extraordinary beauty, evocative of her metaphorical and historical associations. Her reductive iconography within the brilliant color fields encourages viewers to read the works as representations of such concepts as gender, morality, spirituality, and power.

Barbara Ess has said that her work "deals with the subjective relationship of personal experience to the phenomenal world." Her use of a pinhole camera allows her to present a distortion of objects that questions what things, or experiences, are or seem to be, thus calling on viewers to question their own visual references.

Since the 1960s, Ray K. Metzker has explored in every conceivable manner the inherent properties of black and white photography. From aspects of tone and spatial rendering, framing, montage, selective focus, and distortion, he has manipulated the medium in ways that are unique and personally identifiable. In every respect, his work challenges us to grasp our sense of pictorial representation and make sense of seeing itself.

The photographers represented in the exhibition express a personal message in their work and reveal a sensitivity to the properties of their medium. At the same time, the most recent works by the four artists reveal much about broad trends in the complex field of current photographic approaches and strategies.

The art museum is open to the public without charge. Free highlights tours of the collection are given every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Monday and major holidays. The Museum Shop closes at 5:00 p.m. The Museum is located in the middle of the Princeton University campus. Picasso's large sculpture Head of a Woman stands in front. For further information, please call (609) 258-3788.

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