Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery at Loyola Hosts Landscape Photography Show

Loyola press release - September 19, 2017

The show Gary Metz: Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint opens on September 25; a related panel discussion in October will feature curators, scholars and photographers.

Loyola University New Orleans’ Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery presents the work of an influential but still unsung 20th-century photographer and educator in an upcoming show titled Gary Metz: Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint. The exhibition, which opens next week and runs through December 15, will also be the subject next month of a panel discussion led by the exhibition’s curators, together with local scholars and photographers.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 in the Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library at Loyola, 6363 St. Charles Ave. The panel discussion, preceded by a reception at 5:30 in the Diboll Gallery, takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in Miller Hall, Room 114, also at Loyola. All events are free and open to the public.

The panel discussion will feature the exhibition’s curators Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock and Joseph Lawton of Fordham University, alongside New Orleans Museum of Art’s Freeman Family Curator of Photographs Russell Lord; Tulane photography professor Annie-Laurie Erickson and Loyola University New Orleans art historian Benjamin Benus. Together, the panelists will discuss Metz, his career as a photographer and educator, the venerable tradition of American landscape photography and how Metz and his contemporaries challenged it. The Metz show and panel coincides with an upcoming photography exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art titled East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography, opening at NOMA October 5.

In the 1970s, the late photographer and educator Gary Metz generated a significant body of work that was very much in the spirit of the times. Metz’s Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint challenged the first 100 years of landscape photography, which had placed a major emphasis on depicting nature as sublime, heroic and unspoiled. Unlike previous photographers who glorified nature, Metz and his contemporaries wrenched photography out of the national parks and replaced the scenic with the vernacular of the American landscape.

“Gary Metz was a really a trailblazing photographer and a much-loved professor of photography during his long career, although, strangely, he didn’t get the same recognition as many of his contemporaries. In the 1970s, he and they turned really turned the field of landscape photography on its head, with a focus on the everyday environment, including the realities of commercial development and suburban expansion into once pristine areas,” said the Rev. Gregory Waldrop, S.J., Ph.D., art historian and chair of the Department of Art at Loyola. “Visitors to the show will see the seeming banalities of the ‘70s inhabited landscape set amidst what had been the raw and magnificent beauty of Aspen, Colorado.”

A number of Metz’s colleagues received wide recognition for their similar investigations, culminating in the seminal 1975 exhibition, The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at the Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. Gary Metz never received the same level of acknowledgement. Now, more than 40 years later, his Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint is as powerful and relevant as ever, resonating with current interests in ecology and the everyday landscape.

The show, which has travelled the nation and Europe, makes its New Orleans debut at Loyola. The Orlando Weekly has called the Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint “a bold declaration…on the divide between nature and culture.” The Wall Street Journal noted that “Metz…has a wry humor that distinguishes his work from [his contemporaries’].”

Gary Metz was a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, director of education at the International Center of Photography, and head of the Photography Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. He received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Photography, 1972 and 1980, and his work is represented in various collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., the National Gallery of Canada, and the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y.

For additional information, contact: Gregory Waldrop, S.J., Ph.D., Director, Diboll Art Gallery, waldrop@loyno.edu and 504-865-2187.