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Lee Friedlander: Western Landscapes

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Lee Friedlander: Western Landscapes at 49 Geary Street from October 27 – December 23, 2016. The landscape—especially the extravagantly varied landscape of the American west—has been a recurring subject for Friedlander over the course of a nearly six-decade career. Concurrent with the exhibition, Yale University Art Gallery is publishing an ambitious, large-format book of the same title. The exhibition will include approximately 50 works, the large majority of which are being seen and published for the first time.

Lee Friedlander: Western Landscapes focuses on the photographs the artist made during a series of road trips through the 1990s and 2000s. Working with a large negative, a wide-angle lens, and photographing from unconventional vantage points, Friedlander’s square-format photographs draw the viewer into idiosyncratic qualities of the terrain while skewing expectations of beatific grandeur. Though Friedlander’s subjects include some of the west’s more dramatic landscapes, such as Yosemite, Death Valley, the Tetons, and Big Bend, his perspective is radically different from the idealized representations that have shaped the national conception of these oft-photographed treasures.

Friedlander’s black-and-white landscapes incorporate a panoply of natural forms: swooping mountain ridges, mirrored lakes, twisting trees, and tufted grasses. Even in daylight, Friedlander frequently employs flash to create densely layered compositions melding foreground and background.

Lee Friedlander (b. 1934) is widely celebrated as a photographer of the urban, social, and natural landscape. His work has encompassed such diverse subjects as television sets in lonely motel rooms; self-portraits; the street; nudes; and images from the inside of his car. His work has been the subject of approximately 50 monographs.

Lee Friedlander’s first exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery was in 1979. Among his recent museum exhibitions are Lee Friedlander: America By Car (2010), at The Whitney Museum of Art, and a retrospective organized at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, that traveled to the Jeu de Paume, Paris. Friedlander has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Hasselblad Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from The International Center of Photography, New York.