Monday, March 8, 2010

playing with pictures

Yesterday, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the exhibit Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage.
On display were images incorporating photography and watercolor mostly made by English aristocratic women in the 1860's and 1870's.

While some women placed figures in landscapes and interior settings others chose china patterns or painted a subject and then added the photographs to tell a story. Some incorporated the human form with animal which Kate Edith Gough performed terrifically in her painting of mallards and swans with human heads.

As photography was emerging at a time when Charles Darwin's theories were being reported and Alice in Wonderland was being published it can only be imagined how exciting the world of fantasy and the natural world were being intertwined.

Portraiture was readily available as material to use and experiment with and the use of scale often amusing. While viewing and reading text for Mary Georgiana Caroline, Lady Filmer's painting here we see the man she was known to carry on a flirtation with presented larger and with a jaunty hat, her at the table glancing at him while at the table with her pot of glue and pictures while her husband is seen much smaller seated near a dog.

A jester tossing people as he walks, or a person blowing bubbles of people makes statement of the whimsical state of mind while others more seriously used the medium, such as, placing heads into jewelry pieces.

-Maria Harriet Elizabeth Cator

Learning to paint required lessons for these ladies who had the money to pay for them. They learned to paint flowers in a way I only dream to and to experiment with this new form of combining photography with art in amazing ways.

Most imagery has been taken from larger books for this exhibit and many of the books are available to see at computer stations at the exhibit.

All images from the Metropolitan Museum


Denise said...

Thanks for that good review of the show. I am hoping to get to see it this week.

melissa said...

ha- those are amazing! i love the ducks with human heads.
thank you for sharing x

jenn said...

Oh, so lucky that you got to go! It looks so amazing! Now I MUST get there!

Carolyn said...

Lovely writeup. Thanks for letting me visit, and revisit, the exhibit with you xo