21c Museum is proud to present Photo/Synthesis: James Baker Hall, the first survey of photographic work by James Baker Hall, whose photographs depict the varied landscapes and creative personalities of his native Kentucky, while foregrounding the sensory experience of the work itself. The seventy images drawn from the collection of the artist represent a body of work that examine Hall's fascination and experimentation of photography since his childhood.
It has been said that James Baker Hall is both a photographer who writes and a writer who takes pictures. This exhibition explores yet another notion, that James Baker Hall is also a painter who makes photographs. 21c has worked closely with the artist to realize an ambitious exhibition comprising nearly five decades of photographic pursuits.
While Hall is perhaps best known for his more traditional photographic books such as A Spring Fed Pond, 2000 or Tobacco Harvest: An Elegy, 2004, he has simultaneously been creating a body of work that continues to challenge the notion that photography is merely representational. Instead, Hall's photographs often take on a more painterly quality such as his Orphans in the Attic and Appear to Disappear series. Similar to painting, Hall is able to record the experience of observation and capture the impression of a landscape or his subject.
Accompanying this exhibition, Larkspur letterpress, a longtime collaborator of Hall's, has printed a selection of eight poems by Hall that further exemplify the artist's mastery of diverse mediums.