In the 19th century, photographs of loved ones in embossed leather cases accompanied soldiers into battle or comforted civilians at home. Cartes de visite (visiting cards), typically made from thin albumen prints attached to card stock, were displayed in Victorian parlors, and small daguerreotypes and ambrotypes captured images of public figures and celebrities of the time. Today, photographers continue to employ their craft in the creation of small-scale works that convey big ideas. On Friday, Oct. 7, at 5:30 p.m., the New Mexico Museum of Art presents Small Wonders, a show of minuscule works by contemporary photographers.
Small Wonders contains images by Denver-based photographer Susan Goldstein, whose humorous and sometimes disturbing pictures are collaged from found photos, and photographer Liz Steketee of San Francisco, who starts with her own pictures and then cuts, rephotographs, and sews them into new compositions. Española-based artist Laurie Tümer’s early mixed-media works involved cutting photographic prints into spiral and arrow shapes and combining painting and photography to create 2-inch by 2-inch scenes. Photographer Jan Pietrzak of Santa Fe creates 2 ¼-inch platinum prints in the darkroom. The show also contains an installation of photograms (photographs made without a camera) by Santa Fe’s Jenna Kuiper, as well as Houston-based photographer David Janesko’s collection of laser-drawn images on light-sensitive paper.
Examples of small-scale photography from the 19th and early 20th centuries are on view, providing historical context. The public is invited to make their own photomontages in the gallery using scrap photographs. The exhibit is by museum admission (no charge on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. through October), and the public reception is at 5:30 p.m. The show remains on exhibit through March 12, 2017. The museum is at 107 W. Palace Ave. Call 505-476-5072.