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Mabel Larson Gallery

Mabel Larson Gallery

Located on the first floor of Harned Hall – a historic building in the center of the campus, this large, attractive gallery features selections from the Austin Peay State University Permanent Art Collection. Artworks in this gallery are changed periodically, but have a longer display time than works in the Trahern Gallery. Gallery hours: 8:00 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Open during the summer.

Mabel Larson Gallery

Current Exhibition

Topography: Exploring Dimensionality in the Jim and Nan Robertson Photography Collection, curated by Sara Straussberger, Jewel Birdsong Scholarship recipient.

In this exhibit, the term topography is used to emphasize both the form and the subject matter of these photographs. Rather than recording variations in the earth’s terrain or indicating the elevation of a specific physical area, the photographer applies his or her own techniques of capturing light to represent the dimensionality of an environment. The subject matter is both physical and cognitive and is presented to the viewer as the artist has interpreted it.

In his book, The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression, contemporary photographer Bruce Barnbaum writes, “Photography is a form of non-verbal communication. At its best, a photograph conveys a thought from one person, the photographer, to another, the viewer…a true photograph possesses a universal quality that transcends immediate involvement with the subject or events of the photograph.” Through this process of communication, the photographer articulates his or her own experience in a physical space—responds to movement, texture, form and light— and presents this to the viewer. When viewers approach a photographic image, they view through a lens of past experiences and associations, thus allowing for a two-dimensional image to evoke emotions from the depths of one’s memory.

This exhibit features images from the Jim and Nan Robertson Photography Collection that were selected to showcase the wide range of subject matter and formal qualities of the photographs. The subject matter ranges from undulating shapes of sand dunes to the contours of the human figure to rich architectural surfaces. The formal qualities include: visual textures, such as peeling paint to smooth metal silos, both visual and implied line, strong value ranges, and crisp print quality.

The Jim and Nan Robertson Photography Collection consists of more than 350 images made by 19th and 20th century photographers. Originally displayed in the Robertson’s 5th Avenue Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona between 1979 – 1981, these photographs were generously donated to the Austin Peay State University Permanent Art Collection upon Jim and Nan Robertson’s relocation to nearby Dover, TN.

This exhibit will be on view through May 2017.