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Newman captures the abstract in Wiesner exhibit



By Bob Newman G.

Wiesner Gallery, MIT Student Center.

Continues through Mar. 3.


BOB NEWMAN'S PICTURES The quality of the photography is high. The large format negatives that Newman uses capture minute detail, so that even in the largest prints there is almost no graininess. The series of rock face pictures benefit from this by working at two levels. The surface of the rock is fascinating, a reptile skin of minute flecks and pits. Tiny shadows and fissures convey the dense hardness of the rock.

The pictures are more than records of interesting textures, though. Newman's artistic talent shows itself most strikingly in the composition of some of the more abstract pictures. Over the minute patterns of texture lie broader variations, between areas of light and shadow, or different kinds of surface, often delineated with stark contrast at their boundaries. Some of the shapes formed by these are strong and suggestive, and in a number of pictures Newman has chosen the position from which he shoots with great care and precision so as to capture this. In particular, a series of three that feature a loosely three part vertical division of the frame, and a beautiful image of the split face of a sandstone boulder, exemplify this.

When he turns his camera to longer views or more obvious landscape ` A series of six smaller prints, taken from the same spot over the course of a quarter of an hour of the progress of a storm across a distant hill range, present a more familiar image of New Mexico. But it is a striking one nonetheless, testifying to the grandeur of the sky and space of that state. Although these pictures (like all those in this exhibition) are black and white, there is a strong suggestion of color in the stirred, troubled sky that boils over the dark strip of the earth. Once again, Newman's eye for the abstract enhances the quality of his work.