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Robert McCann

Pen of Nature

December 11, 2003–January 17, 2004

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce Pen of Nature an exhibition of black-and-white photographs by Robert McCann. The exhibition, Mr. McCann's first in the gallery, will open on Thursday, December 11, 2003 and close on Saturday, January 17, 2004, with a reception for the artist on Thursday, December 11 from 6-8 p.m.

When looking out the window of his Vermont home, McCann noticed a drawing on the ground created by fern stems rising from the snow. This discovery of taking from the woods and fields a medium of creating drawings inspired McCann to make images following the form of lines he finds in nature. Using his 8" × 10" wooden view camera, Mr. McCann arranges leaves, grass, fern stems, horsetails and other natural objects on a sheet of glass over an old x-ray viewer, then lights them with tungsten lights.

The Pencil of Nature, which was first published in 1844 by William Henry Fox Talbot, is widely considered the first photographic book. It is through these first, soft renderings of the world that Talbot hoped to reveal the possibilities he saw for photography in several areas; pictorial, scientific, and technical. Making clear reference to this important work, Robert McCann's Pen of Nature consists of sharp, large-format images of natural objects which, at first, look as if they were line drawings in ink. McCann's carefully crafted photographic compositions reveal more than just the technical advances the medium has undergone. Charmed by the ordinary, McCann has photographed it for several years in various ways. In these, his most recent works, there is an exploration of ordinary experience and emotions, ordinary feelings. Through his process of using lines found in nature, McCann draws parallels between the simplicity of the lines, and the feeling or emotion he is trying to evoke. For the artist these lines are similar to a line of poetry, his aim is to create an image that has the capacity to remind one of something long forgotten.

Robert McCann was born in New Haven, CT, studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives and works in Newark, Vermont. He teaches photography and graphic design at Lyndon State College in Vermont. Mr. McCann has had several solo exhibitions across the United States.