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Botanicals: The Photography of Imogen Cunningham at Oceanside Museum of Art

“Datura,” 1930. The Imogen Cunningham Trust

The Oceanside Museum of Art is currently (2011) exhibiting the beautiful botanical images by Imogen Cunningham. This small museum located near Camp Pendleton Marine Base, on the coast of Southern California, is a hidden treasure that puts on some exhibits that make the drive worthwhile. I have never been disappointed in the past three years after discovering it.

I enjoyed a leisurely walk through an indoor garden of Cunningham’s floral and plant photographs like savoring a favorite dessert. Some of my personal favorites include: “Fantsia Papydifera” (1930), is sublime in its light and texture. “Calla Leaves” (late 1920’s), is a difficult image to expose, but Cunningham caught the  extreme darks and lights, creating both a beautiful abstract shape when viewed from far away, as well as the texture and flowing composition when seen close up.  “Sedum Cristate” (1920’s), is a gorgeous balance of composition, exposure, and texture. “Colletia Cruciata 7” (1929), is a playful image that evokes jet fighter planes all taking off at once. “Celery” (1925), is so delectable it seems as if it should taste like a mango rather than a vegetable. “Datura” (c 1930) and “Magnolia Blossom-Tower of Jewels” (1925) are simply masterpieces.

Cunningham’s quote on the museum wall reminds us all to keep looking beyond the surface. “Seeing is perhaps the greatest part in the education of a photographer”.

The following is from the San Diego Union Tribune:

She may not have the immediate name recognition of her friend and colleague Ansel Adams, but Cunningham is a towering figure in 20th-century photography. Arthur Ollman, the former director of San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts and head of the visual arts department at San Diego State University considers her “no more or no less important” than Adams, while Teri Sowell, the exhibit’s curator and the director of exhibitions and collections at the Oceanside Museum of Art, describes her as an artist who had “a profound influence on American photography and the modernist aesthetic.”

Read more about Cunningham’s exhibit by clicking here.


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

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