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Gary Metz, “Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint”

Gary Metz’s exhibition Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint at the Speos Gallery – 7 rue Jules Vallès, 75011 Paris, from January 13th to February 6th, 2015.

In the 1970’s, 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.

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, 40 years later, his Quaking Aspen: a Lyric Complaint is as powerful and relevant as ever, resonating with current interest in ecology and the everyday landscape.

Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock & Joseph Lawton, Professors, Fordham University

Gary Metz began as a printmaker and painter at the Cleveland Institute of the Arts, later receiving his BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop.

He led undergraduate and graduate programs at RIT, San Francisco Art Institute University of Colorado, Boulder, University of New Mexico, International Center of Photography (coordinator, Advanced Studies Program), and the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was Department Head 1981-92. At RISD he started the cooperation with Speos, establishing their Winter Session in Paris, which has been taking place for more than 20 years by now.

He lectured on a variety of topics at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Denver Museum of Art, the Aspen Institute, Cranbrook Art Academy, Arizona State University, Carleton College, ICP, and several times at regional and national conferences of SPE.

Metz lists over 100 solo and group exhibitions, including the George Eastman House, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and ICP. Among collections holding his work are GEH, MOMA, and the National Gallery of Art Ottawa. He received four NEH grants, among others.

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