Early 20th-century photographs from the West Virginia coalfields and reproduced images of 19th-century historic landscapes went on display Thursday (Jan. 22) at West Virginia University .
The exhibitions feature Matt Klett and Byron Wolfes rephotographed historic landscapes from the 1860s and 1870s and works by coalfield photographer RufusRedRibble.
The works will remain on display through Feb. 26 in the Creative Arts Centers Mesaros Galleries .
In addition, Klett will present the WVU Division of Art and Designs annual Deem Distinguished Artist Lecture at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall at the Creative Arts Center . The opening reception for both exhibitions will follow at 6 p.m. at the galleries.
Klett and Wolfes exhibition,Panoramic Landscapes from the Third View Project,will be on view in the Laura Mesaros Gallery.
The Third View Project was formed in 1997 to document perspectives on time and change in the American West. Klett is project director, and Wolfe is in charge of photography, electronic design and programming.
Third View rephotographs historic landscape views from the 1860s and 1870s, then makes new photographs, videos and sound recordings and collects other information about the land, its people and their stories. The resulting work is combined in a multimedia format linking the past to the present.
Initial groundwork for the Third View Project was laid by the Rephotographic Survey Project from 1977-79. The RSP first rephotographed 19th-century U.S. Geological Survey photographs and published them in the bookSecond View.
The Third View field team was formed from an interest in revisiting the sites of the RSP photographs after 20 years, as well as adding other early photographs to the Second View project site list.
The team combines perspectives from fine art photography, history, literature and the natural and social sciences. Later, the many components gathered in the field are edited and combined into interactive presentations.
Viewers can access video clips, sound files and other images that connect places to events, people and ideas. The project plans to use multiple formats to disseminate its work, including exhibitions, a book and publication through electronic media (CD-ROM and DVD ) and its Web site ( http://thirdview.asu.edu ).
On view in the Paul Mesaros Gallery will be an exhibition titledRed Ribble, Coalfield Photographer.These historic panoramic photographs are being exhibited courtesy of Morgantown photographer Mark Crabtree and the West Virginia Humanities Council.
Ribble traveled the Appalachian mining towns of Fayette, Raleigh, Kanawha, Wyoming, Boone, Mercer, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties in southern West Virginia from 1919-57, documenting the coal towns and the men who worked the mines.
According to Crabtree, the camera Ribble used was a Kodak No. 8 Cirkut Outfit.Outfitmeans the camera could make regular cut film photos and panoramic photos, and No. 8 reflected the width of the film (8 inches). Most of Ribbles photos are about 8 inches by 48 inches and are views of towns, businesses or group photos.
In 1980, Crabtree and photographer Doug Chadwick made prints from Ribbles original negatives for the West Virginia State Archives in Charleston and the West Virginia Regional and History Collection at WVU . Some of these prints were included in a traveling museum exhibition called theWest Virginia Coal Life Projectand were later used as part of the states exhibit at the 1984 Worlds Fair in Knoxville, Tenn. Both Crabtree and Chadwick now have successful careers as panoramic photographers.
Part of the WVU Division of Art and Design , the Mesaros Galleries exhibits work innovative in media and content and plays host to contemporary artists through in its Visiting Artist Program. All events are free and open to the public. Hours are noon-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The galleries are closed Sundays and University holidays.
For more information, contact Robert Bridges , curator, at 304-293-4841 ext. 3210.