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Naomi Savage (1927-2005) was a highly innovative photographer, who regarded the darkroom as a laboratory where she could invent new and exciting techniques that began with photography but which expanded the capability of the medium to new and previously unexplored limits. She was the niece of Man Ray and studied with him for a brief period in Hollywood, California. It was he who taught her that photography had no boundaries.  “The darkroom,” he told her, “was a place to make fearless tries at whatever images came to mind.” She followed this advice throughout her career, being the first to display metal-plate photoengravings (customarily used as a means by which to make prints) as finished works of art, thereby causing the very medium of photography to be redefined. She first showed her work in the 1950’s and 1960’s in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and was represented in the 1970’s to mid-1980’s by the prestigious gallery of Lee Witkin in New York City. Her work can be found in some of the most distinguished museums in the United States, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Princeton University Art Museum, and The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. When digital photography emerged in the 1990’s, Savage embraced it completely, considering it as a new and revolutionary means by which to engage in an even greater diversity of experimentation. The influence of Man ray appears throughout her work, both formally, thematically, and conceptually, as she fully adopted his position that art follows no rules and is without limitation, thereby, in the case of Naomi Savage, resulting in a range of works that stretched the limits of photography.

Accompanying this exhibition is the first ever comprehensive monograph on Savage’s work, with an essay by Francis M. Naumann. Published by MAB Books.

PREVIEW OF THE MAB BOOK Naomi Savage: Stretching the Limits of Photography


MAB art/talks
Francis M. Naumann discusses the life and work of Naomi Savage

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