Point And Shoot
Graham Nash takes aim at photography's next frontier.
Thursday, July 8, 1999
It''s next to impossible to think of Graham Nash as anything other than the Woodstock-era icon whose landmark recordings with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young represent one of the more enduring legacies of the rock era.
Nevertheless, in two new collaborative art exhibitions opening this Friday and Saturday at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel and the Monterey Museum of Art at La Mirada, Nash''s artistic contributions as a photographer and co-founder of the Nash Editions digital fine-art printmaking studio reveal still another, and equally enduring, aspect of his creative persona.
Nash, who will be on hand for both art openings, and will conduct a workshop on digital printing with Nash Editions co-founder Mac Holbert on Saturday, spoke briefly with the Weekly during a break from a recording session with Crosby, Stills and Young. He discussed his love affair with photography as both a collector and photographer, as well as the impact of digital printing on the medium.
"I''ve been making images longer than music," says Nash, who began photographing at age 11, and recalls taking a portrait of his mother as one of his first significant images.
The majority of Nash''s personal work on exhibit at the CPA may be called "street photography," a documentary-style of picture taking that emphasizes spontaneity and liberal doses of irony to capture the strange synchronicities and "unseen" circumstances of everyday life--the so-called "decisive moment" used in reference to the imagery of French master photographer Henri Cartier Bresson.
Nash''s images display a true visual artist at work, one who brings a witty and discerning perspective to the world around him. His portraiture, in particular, reveals a mastery and facility in contrasting and juxtaposing light, form, scale and focus to reveal the deeper psychic layers of his subjects.
"I''ve always been drawn to odd synchronicities, and, for me personally, photography has made me more aware," explains Nash, who attributes aspects of his shooting style to having been at the creative vortex of the ''60s, where music, art and photography derived much of its energy from the streets and converged in a chain reaction to help reshape the culture of the times.
Within art photography circles, Nash is probably most recognized as a pioneering collector of photography as fine art. Beginning in 1970 with his first purchase of Diane Arbus'' 1962 image, "Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C.," Nash acquired a collection of 3,000 images that covered the entire history of the medium, from classic Victorian-era photographs to the work of contemporary masters.
Nash eventually sold what was one of the finest privately held collections in the world to Sotheby''s auction house in 1988. Around the same time he also donated $2.8 million worth of photographs to the Getty Museum in LA.
From the proceeds of the Sotheby sale, Nash financed the creation of Nash Editions in 1991, one of the country''s first studios devoted to digitally based fine art printing.
"We were aware at the time we would be at the cutting edge," says Nash, who doesn''t feel digital imaging will necessarily render silver prints or other established photographic processes obsolete. "I don''t think anything becomes obsolete. People are still making daquerrotypes. Artists just find easier ways of doing things and older techniques just get superseded."
While the CPA exhibit focuses strictly on Nash''s personal work, the Monterey Museum exhibit features more experimental color and black and white digital ink-jet prints by a variety of artists and photographers, including David Hockney, Robert Heinecken, Les Krims, Danny Lyon, Pedro Meyer and Olivia Parker, all printed by Nash Editions.
The Monterey Museum show, entitled "Digital Frontiers: Photography''s Future at Nash Editions," is very much a tribute to the creative vision and talents of Nash Editions co-founder, operations manager and former CSN&Y tour manager Mac Holbert, who was born and raised in Santa Cruz and studied art at UC Santa Cruz.
According to Holbert, Nash Editions emerged from computer work he did in the 1970s putting together tour budgets and itineraries.
"I started to create custom covers using a little scanner called a Thunder Scan that replaced the ink cartridge in a Stylewriter printer," explains Holbert. "The resolution was bad but good enough for a 5-by7 cover."
While Holbert and Nash were putting together an exhibit in Japan, they stumbled on the amazing ability of the Iris printer to create digital ink-jet prints.
"We were astounded that the digital print looked like a high-end photograph," recalls Holbert. "The resolution, color and detail were spectacular, and everywhere we went we were getting great feedback on the images. We were the only people in the world doing this, and we had the sense we were pioneers."
Beginning with a single Iris printer at their main location in Manhattan Beach, Nash Editions now has printing plants all over the world. And, as artists become increasingly comfortable and familiar with digital technology, they are beginning to work with Nash Editions and use the technology to refine and better realize their vision.
"Our job is to get the look and feel of the artists'' vision," says Holbert. "People were reluctant at first but there are now a lot of requests for in-house manipulation. Slowly people realize they''re capable of doing what they always wanted to do in the darkroom, to get closer to realizing the vision they are seeing in their mind. It is a significant step forward from the darkroom.
"Like anything else there has been a period of experimentation," adds Holbert. "People got entranced with the tools and it became more about the process than the vision, but people are now becoming more confident and with a clear idea of your vision you can go after that using the tools."
"Graham Nash Personal Views" opens July 9 at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel with an artist''s reception from 7-9pm. "Digital Frontiers" opens July 10 at La Mirada with an artist''s reception from 7-9pm. The CPA is also hosting a fundraising dinner and auction July 11 at the Pebble Beach room beginning at 6pm. Tickets $125. Call 625-5181 for more info.
Carl Cherry Center for the Arts The Gateless Gate. Opening Reception. Paintings by Carmel artist Hilary Kaye and Carl Cherry Center founder Jeanne D''Orge, exploring metaphysical doorways. 4th Avenue and Guadalupe Street, Carmel. 624-7491. Reception: 7/9, 5-7pm. Through: 8/24.
Center for Photographic Art Graham Nash: Personal Views Opening Reception with the artist. (See above story.) Reception: 7/9, 7-9pm. In addition, Nash and co-worker Mac Holbert conduct a seminar and workshop on digital imaging 7/10 from 9:30am-4pm. Enrollment is $125. Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 9th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 9/10.
Galerie Plein Aire Group Show. Opening Reception. Contemporary plein air artists working on the Monterey Peninsula. Reception: 7/10, 6-8pm. Galerie Plein Aire, San Carlos Street and 5th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5686.
Monterey County Artists Tour Special Event. Artists wishing to participate in this year''s Artists Studio Tour (9/25-26) should apply now. Limited spaces are still available. For more info/application phone Rene McClue at 625-0578.
Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada Digital Frontiers. Opening reception with the artist. (See above story). 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-3689. Reception: 9/10, 7-9pm. Through: 9/26.
Alvarado Gallery Reflections. Exhibit. Photographs of "Monterey and our World" by Galyn C. Hammond. At the Monterey Conference Center, #1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. 646-3770. Through: 8/25.
Carmel Art Association Exhibit. A special exhibit features the work of three new Carmel Art Association members: painters Pam Carroll and Barry John Raybould, and sculptor Eleen Auvil, newly accepted in the two-dimensional artist category. Dolores Street between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 8/4.
Carmel Valley Manor Landscapes. Exhibit. Watercolors by Miguel, Migueline and Alexis Dominguez. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. 626-4806. Through: 7/31.
Concepts Exhibit. Jewelry by Sydney Lynch; hand-blown glass art by Bruce Pizzichillo and Dari Gordon. Ocean Avenue, Carmel. 624-0661. Through: 7/30.
da Giovanni Restorante A Walk Through Italy. Exhibit. Black-and-white photographs by Jeanette Jancovicova. Lincoln Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 626-5800. Through: 7/20.
Galerie Plein Aire Summer Show. Exhibit. Works by the Informalists--Barry John Raybould, Jeff Smith, Mark Farina, Richmond P. Woodson and Cyndra Bradford. San Carlos Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5686. Through: 7/9.
Grove Homescapes Breakaway. Exhibit. Local artists exhibit "colors, forms, textures." 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 656-0864. Through: 7/31.
Josephus Daniels Gallery Portrait + Figure. Exhibit. Photographic works by "many new photographers and old legends." Dolores Street near 6th Avenue, Carmel. 625-3316. Through: 7/31.
Monterey Museum of Art-Civic Center The Persistence of Color. Exhibit. Works by photographer Jeffrey Becom and painter Lucas Blok. Also, "Continuity and Change: Women''s Molas from the San Blas Islands." 559 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 9/5.
Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada Armin Hansen: Man of the Sea. Exhibit. Etchings, watercolors and oil paintings by one of this century''s most noted painters. 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 9/19.
Monterey Peninsula Airport Main Streets of Monterey County and Footprints of History. Exhibit. Antique photographs, personal recollections and memorabilia chronicling the history and transformation of local main streets. 200 Fred Kane Dr., Monterey. 624-7910. Through: 9/30.
Morgan''s Coffee & Tea Free the Tree. Exhibit. Works featuring the Lone Cypress tree by more than 40 local artists. The exhibit is a protest against the Pebble Beach Company''s claim to have trademark rights to the sale of all reproductions of the tree. 498 Washington St., Monterey. 373-1479. Through: 7/31."
National Steinbeck Center Ruckus Rodeo. Exhibit. A walk-through, sculpto-pictorama "which brings to life the excitement of a modern rodeo." Created by Red Grooms, the exhibit fills the entire gallery space with sculptures and paintings. 1 Main St., Salinas. 796-3833. Through: 7/18.
Pacific Grove Art Center Family Portraits. Exhibit. Paintings by Alexandra Wiesenfeld; Putting it All Together, paintings by Janet McKaig; Bodie: Golden Promises, Abandoned Dreams, photographs by Jill A. Lachman; Indeterminate Space, the Couture Paintings, paintings by Judith Dunworth. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 7/23.
Pajaro Valley Gallery Collective ''99. Exhibit. Works by members of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. 722-3062. Through: 8/7.
Salinas Courthouse Landscape. Exhibit. Works by Milt Haertig, Alex Gonzales, Michael Thomas Kainer, Christine Watten, Mark Farina, Anita Benson and William S. Fenwick. This exhibit, sponsored by the county and the Cultural Council for Monterey County, marks the debut of a new program to display art work in Monterey County government buildings. 240 Church St., Salinas. 625-4134, 622-9060. Through: 9/3.
Sculpture House & Gardens Exhibit. "Whimsical creatures and abstract metal sculptures from discarded objects, tools, truck and car parts" and other metal by Phillip Glashoff. Highway 1, Carmel Highlands. 624-2476. Through: 8/15.
Unitarian Universalist Church Of The Monterey Peninsula Expanded Visions. Exhibit. Photo-collage and panorama images from Mexico and the Central Coast by Weekly photographer Richard Pitnick. 490 Aguajito Road, Monterey. 624-7404. Through: 8/15.
Valley Art Gallery 11th Cavalry and Others. Exhibit. Paintings by Dorothy Smith. 218 Main St., Salinas. 422-4162. Through: 7/31.
Venture Gallery Skerce. Exhibit. Impressionist watercolors and oil paintings by Stephen Skerce. 260 Alvarado Mall, in the DoubleTree Hotel, Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 7/31.
Vest Pocket Art Gallery Inspirations in Paper and Glass. Exhibit. Paper collages by Jacqueline Peters; glass beadwork with fused glass and lampworked beads by Peters, Mary Ann King and Connie Klein. At the Forest Hill Manor, 551 Gibson Ave., Pacific Grove. 657-5200. Through: 7/31.
Weston Gallery Exhibit. New photographs by Michael Kenna. 6th Avenue near Lincoln Street, Carmel. 624-4453. Through: 7/19.
Zantman Art Galleries Exhibit. Floral paintings by Wilson Chu. Mission Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-8314. Through: 7/9.