Full with the hustle and bustle of theatrical productions, youth events, and artistic exhibits, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is the place to be this winter. The Wide-Eyed Panoramic Photographs room is one of the many exhibits open during the holiday season, which brings a modern look to an older concept of art.
According to the exhibit, the word “panorama” was coined by Robert Barker, a 19th century painter, to describe his style of elongated paintings. Various photographs and other mediums of panoramas included in this exhibit, ranging from the 1850s to present day, attempt to imitate human vision and present a subject as if the viewer were turning his or her head.
There’s a composition for everyone in this exhibit including traditional photographs, digital imagery, panoramas on coffee cans, dental x-rays, and even a “Circle” clip from “That 70’s Show.” The beauty of these various pieces is the notion of the unknown; the various framing, focus, and subject choice allows the viewer to fill in the empty spaces with his or her imagination.
Presented in one broad, chronological panoramic, the photographs begin with earlier pieces and subsequently travel across the walls to the right side of the room. The variety of compositions keeps the viewer constantly engaged in the exhibit, some pieces standing out more than others.
In her composition, Olive Trees after the Heat, Joann Verburg creates a panoramic by utilizing multiple shots with subtle colors, soft lighting, and selective focus to create her stunning visualization of her favorite Italian trees. Axel Mellinger’s Milky Way, placed adjacent to this arboreal scene, vertically explores an astronomical phenomenon by piecing together more than 50 wide-angle film negatives.
Finally, the exhibit ties it all together by bringing the audience close to home with Jonathon Wells’s Minneapolis-St. Paul, a geological photographic study into the multiple sediment layers underneath the Twin Cities. In fact, the majority of photographs are products of native Minnesotans and Midwesterners.
The Wide-Eyed Panoramic Photographs exhibit is a great opportunity for a simple, yet enjoyable date in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Admission requires no charge, the exhibit is open until January 29, and hours are posted on the website, www.artsmia.org.