ICONS: Selections from The Portrait Unbound
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ICONS: Selections from The Portrait Unbound

ICONS: Selections from The Portrait Unbound 

Photography by Robert Weingarten 

ICONS showcases photographer Robert Weingarten’s innovative and ground breaking visual biographies of notable American ICONS including Henry Aaron, Stephen Sondheim, Sandra Day O’Connor, Colin Powell, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alice Waters.
These compelling, large scale photographs are a bold departure from traditional portraiture. They use layers of images to create a mosaic that alludes to interests, achievements and memories in the subjects’ life. They literally describe the “sitter” from a biographical rather than a physical perspective….based on the subjects’ answers to the question,  “What make you who you are?” Thus, they “unbound” a traditional physical portraiture perspective. In doing so, they also encourage greater viewer engagement with the subject and with American history.
ICONS is the third in a new arts initiative at the museum. A Jazz Memoir…Photographs by Herb Snitzer and Culture Shock…Photographs by John Gutmann preceded this.
Bob Yellowlees, an art collector and founder of Lumière, noted, “Having collected Robert Weingarten’s work for 25 years and curated over 50 exhibitions that included some 60 master photographers, I feel that his “portraits without people” is one of the most Imaginative and engaged in the potential of digital technologies in the arts.”

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Weingarten began working  with black and white darkroom photography in his childhood, adopting digital photography over two decades ago. His black and white images opened the viewers eyes to the uniqueness of Amish communities in the series: "Another America”.
This was followed by a film projects exploring landscapes and, during the course of a year, nature’s magical color changes over the Pacific Ocean at Malibu, CA. It’s title: “6.30 AM. In “Palettes”, he created abstracts of paintings in process in the studios of notable artists. This was his first truly digital offering, printed on special equipment in his own studio. It laid the foundation for the “Portrait Unbound” series.
“Digital technologies allow Weingarten to create a new kind of  composite photograph in which the photographer controls the opacity, density and color to create a seemingly three-dimensional layered image representing the lives, rather than the physical appearance, of his subjects.” noted Shannon Perich, who curated the Smithsonian Institution’s “Pushing Boundaries, Portraits by Robert Weingarten”.
Since the 1990’s, works from his various series have been included in some 100 exhibitions. They are included in permanent collections of 30 museums including the George Eastman House, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, High Museum, National Museum of Australia, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum.
“We are pleased to present this extremely relevant exhibition.” Leslie Gordon, Breman Museum Executive Director said. “In a time of growing cynicism among many, it’s illuminating and invigorating to grow our understanding of greatness by examining our roots in the visual biographies that Robert has produced”.
“ We have an exciting programming schedule planned to complement the physical exhibition. Watch our website for upcoming programs and events designed to compliment the exhibition."
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