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Local Color: Photography in the South
May 1, 2021 - July 25, 2021
Local Color: Photography in the South brings to public view some of the best photographs from the Morris Museum of Art’s permanent collection. This selection underscores the rich range of aesthetic possibility within a medium that has often been thought the purview of amateur photographers, while demonstrating the depth and range of the museum’s holdings. These photographs explore and celebrate the region and speak to the significance of the visual artist to Southern culture. Their subjects range from the commonplace—rural landscapes and near-forgotten small towns—to the very nearly surreal. Among these photographers, two are known principally for their work in other mediums: John Baeder, for his highly realistic paintings of roadside eateries, and Janos Enyedi, a multimedia artist known for his celebration of the American industrial landscape. Among the rest, Mississippian Birney Imes is famed for his depictions of the honky-tonks and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta, and Louisianan William Greiner for his slightly surreal depiction of the Deep South. The work of all of these photographers has been widely exhibited, published, and collected by important public institutions. These artists have created a compelling portrait of the modern South. Interestingly, they have done so without relying on portraits of its inhabitants—there are remarkably few images of people—but by photographing its old farm buildings, warehouses, storefronts, residences, and found objects, leaving one with a sense of place that is like no other.