Emmy Award-winning writer and documentary film maker John Witek will lead a Gallery Walk through this exhibit as part of the Fourth Tuesday Tour at 7:15 p.m. June 25, 2013. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. Free Tuesdays at the Huntington Museum of Art are sponsored by AT&T.
Levi Holley Stone (1898-1981), historical Huntington's "unknown" photographer, has at last been discovered. Local resident John Witek, who is an Emmy Award-winning writer, documentary film maker, and inveterate collector, purchased more than 1,000 negatives by Stone at a local flea market. At the time, Witek was unaware of Stone's photographs (as was just about everyone outside of Stone's family) and had no way of knowing that he had stumbled upon an undiscovered cache of unique images taken by a self-taught photographer with great vision. Witek began researching the life of Levi Holley Stone and included the following facts about that life in an article titled Forgotten Huntington: The Home Town Photos of L.H. Stone:
"Like many of his generation, Stone was self-taught and self-reliant. He was a jack of all trades who was good with his hands. At different times he worked as a cement carrier, paper hanger, carpenter, theatrical property manager, electrician, and Teamster. He drove a truck for a power company, was a librarian for a WPA orchestra, and managed a dormitory at Marshall College. He was also a crackerjack baseball player, and he played guitar as well."
Caught up in the amateur photography craze that began at the end of the 19th century with the invention of the Kodak camera, Stone, like most amateur photographers, took many pictures of family and friends. But, as Witek realized after enlarging Stone's small negatives, these were not your typical family photos. The photographer had a good eye and composed his shots artfully.
As Witek wrote, "Stone was thinking like an artist before most people felt that photography could be an art."
Many of Stone's images portray people and places encountered in Huntington from as early as 1912 and into the 1940s. These include shots of crowds during parades down Third Avenue, automobiles and gas stations, luncheonettes, pool halls, public monuments, vaudeville entertainers, movie theaters, and much more.
They anticipate the generation of "street" and "documentary" photographers such as Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and Diane Arbus. They are not only interesting historically; many stand on their own as works of art.
In 2011, John Witek introduced the work of Levi Holley Stone to staff at the Huntington Museum of Art. Soon the decision was made (with the blessing of Stone's descendants) to host an exhibit of 80 selected photographs.
Local photographer Sholten Singer has scanned and/or digitally photographed the negatives, which will be printed by the Huntington Museum of Art. Local Historian James Casto and John Witek will identify places and people in the photographs.
You may be able to shed some light on this too! We look forward to introducing the photographs of L.H. Stone to the Museum's audience.
This exhibit is presented by The Herald-Dispatch; and sponsored by the Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment; the West Virginia Division of Culture and History; and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts; In Memory of Charlotte and Albert Boos; In Memory of Mrs. Susie Bernev Fatzinger; and In Memory of Carney and Margaret M. Layne.
The opening event for this exhibit takes place at HMA from 6 to 8 p.m. June 22, 2013, with a short video about the artists by Brad Boston presented on the big screen in the Grace Rardin Doherty Auditorium followed by a Meet-the-Artists Reception. Admission is free.
To celebrate West Virginia’s sesquicentennial, the Huntington Museum of Art has organized a small invitational exhibit. All of the 18 participating artists teach in West Virginia colleges and universities, affording them a unique viewpoint in that they work closely with West Virginia students from a variety of backgrounds and places within the state.
This exhibit will present many artistic viewpoints – not only in style (traditional vs. cutting edge contemporary) and chosen media (painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video, etc.), but also in the amount of time the artist has spent in the state absorbing “a sense of place.” Many of the invited artists were born, reared, and have always lived in West Virginia, however, some are recent (and not-so-recent) transplants from other states and other countries.
We asked each invited artist to create a work in their preferred medium and in their unique personal style using “sense of place” as a broad guide, referring to this theme as an intensely personal response to the environment, both social and natural, which the individual experiences in daily life. This sense can also refer to the individual’s perception of the whole state, and their feelings, attitudes, and influences living, working, and residing in West Virginia.
It is another way for the Museum to support West Virginia artists, expand our visitors’ knowledge and familiarity of artists working within the state and it is a wonderful way for the Museum to celebrate the 150th anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood.
Artists who will be participating are: Christian Benefiel, Shepherd University; James Biggs, Concord University; Andy Bloxham, West Virginia Wesleyan College; Jennifer Boggess, Fairmont State University; Liza Brenner, Glenville State College; Michael Doig, Davis & Elkins College; Molly S. Erlandson, West Virginia State University; Sonya Evanisko, Shepherd University; James Haizlett, West Liberty University; Hayson Harrison, Marshall University; Grant Johnson, Alderson-Broaddus College; Natalie Larsen, Marshall University; Peter Massing, Marshall University; Mark Tobin Moore, Concord University; Kenneth Morgan, Bethany College; Erika Osborne, West Virginia University; Dr. Reidun Ovrebo, West Virginia State University; and Michael Sherwin, West Virginia University.
Jenine Culligan, organizing curator, will visit each artist’s studio, as will Education Assistant Brad Boston, who will create a travelogue of his journey, documenting his visit to studios, schools and towns throughout the state.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment; the West Virginia Division of Culture and History; and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. This program is presented with support from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.
The permanent collection of the Huntington Museum of Art contains a little more than 90 photographs ranging from an early daguerreotype from the 1850s to digital images from the 21st century. The acquisition of photography was not a focus for the Museum until the 1970s when a large number of photographs came into the collection through purchase awards from the Museum’s regional juried Exhibition 280; purchases with funds provided by the West Virginia Arts and Humanities; and through individual gifts.
The photos selected for this exhibit date from the 1970s, a time of great experimentation in the medium. In these photographs one can see the same trends and artistic styles being explored in other areas of the fine arts such as painting and sculpture making their way into photography such as conceptualism, minimalism, abstraction, and magic realism.
Photography has been taken seriously as a fine art medium since the turn of the 20th century. However, in the 1970s it enjoyed widespread visibility in galleries and museum exhibitions. No longer was photography thought of as only a “documentary” medium, rather it became manipulated in all stages of creativity from conception, composition, and processing. And even though artists were still working with the limitations of film techniques (as opposed to today’s digital capabilities and Photoshop manipulations), artists could create and select the reality they wished to capture or present.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment; the West Virginia Division of Culture and History; and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.