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New Exhibit opening January 6 at Ridgewater College, Hutchinson campus.
The Exhibit, David Plowden’s Minnesota is generously on Loan from the Grohman Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. It features a survey of Plowden’s medium format photography (using a classic Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera), focusing on Minnesota subjects. Highlighted in the show is his photo “Great Northern Railway ‘Extra 3383 East’” from 1956 that depicts a steam engine passing the Kandiyohi Farmers Union Grain Elevator. Other photos included play tribute to his masterful compositions using visual backdrops of taconite mines, the Duluth shipyards, and portraits of people at work. Plowden is a distinguished photographer of international renown. On view until February 7, 2020.
The Ridgewater Fine Art Gallery is located inside the commons, on the Hutchinson Campus. Open 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday. Parking is available for visitors near the entrance.
For more information contact Gallery Curator Andrew Nordin at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In encapsulating David Plowden’s career in photography, one could focus on the numerous articles, essays, and submissions, as well as over 20 photography books published on his work. Among them: A Time of Trains, A Handful of Dust, Industrial Landscapes, A Sense of Place, Bridges: The Spans of North America, Requiem for Steam, and Vanishing Point. One might also speak to the many awards and fellowships he has received, including those from the Smithsonian and the Guggenheim; and that he has worked behind (above?) the camera for nearly seven decades; and that he has exhibited his photographs since the early ’60s, with his first commercial photograph appearing in a 1954 issue of Trains magazine. One can also draw attention to his work being part of a number of museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Albright-Knox Gallery, Chicago Historical Society, The Eastman House, The Speed Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Smithsonian Institution, and the Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering, among others.
Additionally, it is certainly worth noting that Plowden has appeared in Who’s Who in American Art and is the subject of the Emmy Award-winning documentary Light, Shadow, and Form. Over the course of his career, he has worked alongside the likes of Walker Evans, Minor White, Ansel Adams, Winston Link, and other champions of American photography. He has taught for the Illinois Institute of Technology’s School of Design, the University of Iowa, the University of Baltimore, and Grand Valley State (Allendale, MI). Plowden brought to those residencies a true passion for teaching and imparting his wisdom on future generations, both in teaching photography, but also how to “see.”
All this aside, it is in knowing and befriending Plowden that one also knows that his full impact is likely yet to be felt, as we continue to lose the features of the American landscape that he so expertly and thoughtfully captured. From the rural landscape to railroads to bridges to heavy industry, he has distilled in many ways the essence of America by portraying and depicting often overlooked—most now dilapidated or dismantled—national treasures. Poring over his work, his history, and what has been said and written, one can only conclude that he himself is a national treasure.
Please enjoy this exhibition, selections drawn from Plowden’s portfolio that are distinctively Minnesota. Featuring sights familiar to many viewers, it is also a distillation of the quality and variety of this renowned photographer’s work.
Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering
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