Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro: Generations

Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Saturday, March 28, 2015

Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro: Generations showcases the work of father and son, acknowledged masters of the photographic medium. From Paul Caponigro’s darkroom mastery and deeply mystical black-and-white images, to John Paul Caponigro’s digital wizardry and vividly colorful surrealism, the exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of the art and craft of photography employed by both artists.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1932, Paul Caponigro is widely recognized as one of the great landscape photographers. His work is now in countless museum collections including Yale University Art Gallery and The Museum Of Modern Art. He is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and three National Endowment for the Arts grants. Working with large format cameras in black and white, his compositions capture the patterns and forms found in nature as well as monuments man makes in response to them. He creates images that beautifully represent literal objects while also alluding to the metaphorical: two leaves recall the light and form of a stream, an apple resembles a galaxy, a tree stump suggests a fantastical city skyline. His examinations of nature and the stone monuments of man are enigmatic and silent. Paul Caponigro comments on his practice, “At times I make photographs for the sheer magic of its process, and the good feeling about the very stuff needed: light, chemical combinations, some imperceptible forces at work behind the scene. I am part of the drama which takes the guise of photography.”

Also born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1965, John Paul Caponigro is one of the most prominent artists today working with digital media. His art has been exhibited internationally and purchased by numerous private and public collections including Princeton University, the Estée Lauder collection, and the Smithsonian Institution. A pioneer and master practitioner of digital imaging, he realized the power and potential of digital technology early in his career and he dynamically combined them with traditional and alternative photographic processes. He has become not only a renowned artist but a highly sought-after speaker, writer, and instructor on digital photography, printing, and creativity. Caponigro’s work examines the ephemeral and the intangible – light, space, time – and their extensions into psychological and spiritual dimensions. Caponigro states his “life’s work is both a call to connection with nature and a call for conscientious creative interaction in our environment during a time of rapid change.” Unlike Paul’s work there is experimentation with color, both subdued and vivid, and a more overt surrealism: bands of light emanate from the sky and earth, billowing smoke rises from the sea, stones float over the desert.

At first glance, you’ll notice the many differences between these two artists; but upon further reflection you’ll find their shared impulses and sensibilities run much deeper and are far more significant. Both masters of their craft, Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro create mystical spaces with powerful atmospheres of silence that resound with spirit.

In addition to the exhibition of the Caponigros’ photographs, the Taubman Museum of Art will present John Paul Caponigro’s exhibit Process which provides additional insight into the intersection between art and creativity.

Paul Caponigro and John Paul Caponigro: Generations is organized by Sam Krisch, Adjunct Curator of Photography, Taubman Museum of Art. This exhibition will be on display September 27, 2014 – March 28, 2015 in the Contemporary Gallery.

Exhibition images: (left) Paul Caponigro, Two Leaves, Brewster, NY,  1963, (right) John Paul Caponigro, Alignment II, 2000, Images courtesy of the artists