Dan Powell Photography Exhibit in Knight Library
An exhibit featuring the photographic work of Dan Powell, an associate professor in the University of Oregon’s Department of Art, is on display through September in the east and west entryway corridors of Knight Library. Powell is a widely exhibited fine art photographer and has taught at the University of Oregon since 1987.
The exhibit, entitled “Constructed Scapes: Mapping Tendencies in Flow Chart Series and Western Landscapes,” showcases 12 large-format prints from among a substantial collection of Powell’s works housed in the University of Oregon Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives. The Dan Powell Collection is a comprehensive representation of the photographer’s wide-ranging life work, including constructed imagery done in the studio as well as traditional landscapes taken in such diverse areas as eastern Oregon, New York City, and Europe.
The Constructed Shapes exhibit demonstrates the multidimensional qualities of Powell’s work by contrasting images from his early Flow Chart and Pattern Seekers series with his mid-career landscape work from the 1980s. The Flow Chart Series comprises constructed images (starting with nothing and building an image from various materials). Negatives were scratched on at times; images were toned and marked with pencil and paint.
In an odd way, this attitude toward image making informed Powell’s later landscape work. Although images in the land are taken rather than constructed, a kind of sensibility was inherited from the Flow Chart and Pattern Seekers series. Like his constructed images, Powell’s landscapes mix symbols and signs, confuse spatial and informational relationships, and incorporate fragments of words into their visual field. Rather than being interested in landscapes per se, Powell was much more interested in images seen from the road, where land and human intervention mix in odd ways.
A bonus selection of five smaller images from Powell’s The Keeping of Record series is mounted on the wall near the exhibit cases in the east corridor of Knight Library.
The UO Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives has created an online resource on Dan Powell and his work at http://library.uoregon.edu/speccoll/photo/fPowell.html.
You can also find a selections of Dan Powell's photographs in the library’s Historical Photographs Digital Collections at http://bit.ly/O4UupB.