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Nationally Renowned Photo Essayist Sam Abell to Exhibit
Works at University of Virginia Art Museum


email article to a friendJune 26, 2002
Contact: Jane Ford
(434) 924-4298
jford@virginia.edu
TV contact: (434) 924-7550

June 26, 2002

WHO: Photographer Sam Abell

WHAT: Exhibition: "Sam Abell: The Photographic Life"

WHEN: Friday, July 19, through Sunday, Sept. 15
Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

WHERE: University of Virginia Art Museum

Sam Abell has documented the lives and environments of people of all cultures during more than 35 years as a photographer. He has produced in-depth photo essays for books and magazines, and is well known for his work for National Geographic.

The University of Virginia Art Museum will present a special exhibit of his work, "Sam Abell: The Photographic Life," from Friday, July 19, through Sunday, Sept. 15.

Through photographs, contact sheets, multi-image assemblages and texts, the exhibition traces the diverse paths that led to the artist’s finished images.

The raw material of his photography comes from close contact with remote, even rugged regions of the world. To affirm and emphasize his commitment to representing true conditions, Abell works in color in a documentary fashion.

This first comprehensive exhibition of Abell’s photography examines the development of his artistic sensitivity and maturity. It begins with a biographical section of black-and-white photographs excerpted from a journal of his daily life. The images are paired with documentary color work made on assignment, providing a layered look at reality that probes the nature of truth, in life and in photography.

The second section examines the process Abell uses to arrive at final images by showing the options from which selections were made.

The exhibition concludes with a selection of images from three photo essays and a group of single photographs on the theme of duality in Abell’s vision — material and spiritual, permanence and evanescence, and truth and illusion.

The exhibition was organized by the University of Virginia Art Museum with guest writer Leah Bendavid-Val, an editor at National Geographic. In conjunction with the exhibit, the monograph, "Sam Abell: The Photographic Life," will be published by Rizzoli Books, with the sponsorship of Oakwood Arts and Sciences Charitable Trust. The Internet publication, The Digital Journalist, is featuring selections from "The Photographic Life" on its Web site, http://digitaljournalist.org.

A longtime resident of Albemarle County, Abell was born in Sylvania, Ohio, in 1945 and received his B.A. from the University of Kentucky. His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including the International Center of Photography in New York City and the Kathleen Ewing Gallery in Washington, D.C. His work also has appeared in group exhibits such as "Images of Australia" at the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C.; "Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic," organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art; and "Contemporary Photography," at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. A documentary about the artist — "Sight and Insight: The Photography of Sam Abell," was produced in 1989 by Media Loft, Minneapolis. Abell has taught master classes in photography at the International Center of Photography in New York City; Santa Fe Photographic Workshops; and Anderson Ranch Center in Colorado.

In addition to his career as a photographer, he is an artist, teacher and author. Among his best known books are "Distant Thunder: A Photographic Essay on the American Civil War," "Contemplative Gardens," "The Inward Garden" and "Australia."

Following the presentation in Charlottesville, the exhibit will be on view at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery in Washington, D.C., Nov. 1 - 30 and is available to other museums in the United States and abroad.

The University of Virginia Art Museum is open to the public without charge Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Limited parking is available behind the museum.

For more information about the exhibit or the University of Virginia Art Museum, call (434) 924-3592 or visit the museum Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.

Digital images of Sam Abell’s work are available. Contact Jane Ford at (434) 924-4298 or jford@virginia.edu.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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