Pompeii Archive: Recent Photographs by William Wylie
January 16 - April 21, 2018
Griffin Foundation Gallery
Pompeii Archive features a selection of recent work by American photographer, William Wylie, exploring the archeological site of Pompeii in highly evocative images.
Wylie’s interest in the contemporary state of Pompeii began with his discovery of the work of Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914), a German photographer who documented the excavation of the site in the mid-nineteenth century. An avid historian and collector, Wylie began collecting Sommer’s images and researching his work, particularly Sommer’s strategic use of photography to flatten the picture plane and create layered and stratified images that evoked the archeological processes. Examples of Sommer’s work are also included in the exhibition. This ongoing research, and the body of work that has resulted, was supported by Yale University’s Doran Artist in Residency awards at the Sol and Carol LeWitt estate in Praiano, Italy, where Wylie was a resident in 2012 and 2015.
This exhibition features eighteen large scale photographs focused on the ongoing process of restoration, discovery and collection of archival remains and materials from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 C.E. Through Wylie’s photographs, Pompeii is seen as a constantly changing, not static archeological site. Photographing with a large-format camera, the artist creates highly detailed images, that both evoke Sommer’s nineteenth century oeuvre, and the transitions that continue to mark the site and landscape in the twenty-first century.
William Wylie is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia where he teaches photography and Director of the Studio Art Department and coordinates the Studio Art Study Abroad Program in Italy. He received his MFA from The University of Michigan and his BFA from Colorado State University. His research is primarily concerned with the recognition of how spaces are transformed by a variety of forces, including human impact. His photographs and films have been shown both nationally and internationally. Wylie’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and Yale University Art Museum, among others. He has been an Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome and the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Utah and has had numerous other university fellowships.
This project, part of the Critic and Artist Residency Series, is made possible by the FUNd at CSU