Saturday, March 3rd
5:00 - 8:00 pm
Enrico Natali first developed his interest in photography in 1951 while a Cadet in the US Coast Guard Academy. Natali made great strides with his work in the 1960's and 1970's. An early series, New York Subway 1960
(currently on view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art) turned interest into passion and pursuit. Taking America as his subject he continued to work and travel across the country capturing what are arguably some of the most American cities- Chicago, New Orleans, and Detroit. Some of the portrait work was gathered into the text New American People
and published in 1972 by Morgan & Morgan. A second publication, American Landscapes
, by Panopticon Press in 1991 continued to affirm his position in the photographic landscape. Natali gained critical attention and praise from curators and fellow artists, including support in his application for a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship from Sam Wagstaff, Hugh Edwards, and Ansel Adams.
Then Natali did something unexpected. He paused, pulled back from photography, and turned inward to family and meditation practice. Eventually Natali built a Zen meditation center, now called Blue Heron Center for Integral Studies.
Perhaps even more unexpected, and to his followers more exciting, is Natali's reemergence on the photographic scene. New work began in 2000 was inspired by a photography trip with his son and advances in digital technology. Natali's creative flame was rekindled. In many ways Natali seems to have picked up where he left off; the 1963-1975 landscape works were open, spacious, often void of figures, and very architecturally structured. The new works are crisp, strongly composed, and saturated with color. The thread that ties the work together is much less tight than before; true to its title, Just Looking
, the series focuses on the completeness of the individual frame, the perfection in the particular moment rather than getting stuck on repetition of a particular theme. The expansive approach allows us to weave our own threads, reflect on our own understanding of his frames and what they depict of our contemporary culture. Better yet we may choose to rest in one frame, engage a "quiet looking," and meditate on the elegant wholeness of each and every piece of Reality.
For more information on the exhibition, artist's works and reception please visit Joseph Bellows Gallery