Transcending conventional nature photography, James Balog explores the changing character of the American forest in his photographs of “superlative trees.” Often he focuses on a single concentrated frame, exposing complex and swirling details of ancient trees, “champions,” as they are called by arboreal aficionados. He shows sculpturally elegant trees that have survived by sheer hardiness or luck. Borrowing from the cubist sensibility of Picasso and Braque and building upon the mosaic-assemblage technique pioneered by photographer David Hockney, his most recent photographs are produced using a digital multi-exposure method. Balog captures a tree in thousands of tiny frames as he rappels down an adjacent tree; the composite image evokes the tree’s titanic scale. Individual photo shards—as many as eight hundred per assemblage—double as leaves on his digitally reconstructed tree.
TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest presents a geographically diverse selection of trees that span the United States and range in age from several hundred to two-thousand years. Central to the exhibition is a monumental, color assemblage of a Giant Sequoia.
Organized by the McMullen Museum with Cathi Ianno Fournier, Jeffery Howe, and Alston Conley as curators, this exhibition is supported by Boston College, with contributions from the Arts Council, Office of Marketing Communications, Alumni Association, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Nikon Inc. Spirit Initiative.
James Balog will attend the Boston College Arts Festival (April 28-30) to receive the 3rd Annual Arts Council Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement. The public is invited to a celebration for the exhibition on Friday, April 29 from 7:00-9:30 pm. Balog will lecture on the process and philosophy of his portraits of America's largest, oldest trees at 7:30 pm in the Devlin Hall auditorium. Please RSVP for the reception and the lecture to 617-552-4935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the Boston College Arts Festival website.
About the artist: For two decades James Balog (Boston College ’74) has consistently broken new ground in the art of photographing nature. His provocative and powerful images have been published in National Geographic Adventure and in numerous other magazines including Time, Smithsonian, Audubon, Outside, Stern and Paris-Match; his photographs have been exhibited around the globe. The author of six books, each of which marks major conceptual advances in nature photography, Balog has received international acclaim, including the Leica Medal of Excellence. His most recent book, TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest, published in October 2004 by Barnes & Noble, accompanies this exhibition.