"The camera is not only an extension of the eye, but of the brain. It can see sharper, farther, nearer, slower, faster than the eye...Instead of using the camera only to reproduce objects, I want to use it to make what is invisible to the eye, visible."
— Wynn Bullock
The arc of Bullock's innovative achievements is surveyed in Wynn Bullock: Revelations through more than 100 prints, from his early experimental work of the 1940s, through the mysterious black-and-white imagery of the 1950s and color light abstractions of the 1960s, to his late metaphysical photographs of the 1970s. Wynn Bullock: Revelations coincides with a major gift from the Bullock Estate to the High Museum, making Atlanta one of the largest repositories of Bullock's work in the country.
Bullock's work was guided by an intense interest in the mid-twentieth-century dialogue about the structure of the universe and humanity's place within it. Drawn to the spirit of experimentation that marked scientific and philosophic endeavors of his day, Bullock used knowledge about quantum physics, special relativity, and the space-time continuum as a reference point for his own intuitive and deeply personal explorations of the world. Photography for Bullock was a way of meditating on the frightening and exhilarating idea that there is much more to the world than is commonly understood through ordinary perception, and he was passionate about conveying that revelation to others through his work.
Visit the Wynn Bullock Photography Website
Exhibition Organization & Support
The exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in collaboration with the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.
Support for this exhibition is provided by The Donald and Marilyn Keough Family. Generous in-kind support for this exhibition is provided by Tru Vue, Inc. and Avyve.
"Light to me is perhaps the most profound truth in the universe...[It] permits the same freedom of expression as paint for the painter, words for the writer, numbers for the mathematician, or sound for the composer."
— Wynn Bullock
Color Light Abstractions
In the 1960s, Bullock's attraction to the phenomenon of light became more overt in an innovative series of color abstractions. To create these stunning and unusual images, Bullock constructed an apparatus with notches cut into one side. Up to ten layers of glass rested horizontally in the notches. On the glass he placed various materials – a jar of honey, shards of glass, colored cellophane – that refracted light in spectacular ways. Bullock surrounded the whole structure with floodlights, spotlights, and prisms, and manipulated items to create compelling arrangements of light while peering at his composition through the ground glass of his camera. In most cases, he photographed not the objects themselves, but rather their effects in space. Particularly exciting to the artist was the concept that light could be used as an abstract medium in photography, allowing for a plasticity more often associated with other arts.
The mesmerizing color images that resulted from Bullock's concentrated, multiyear effort to record light abstractions were quite literally ahead of their time. While they bear a resemblance to images of outer space taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, no such inspirational images were available to Bullock during his life. And like other photographers experimenting with color photography in the 1960s, Bullock struggled to find ways of presenting his work satisfactorily. Unhappy with most of the color printing papers available to him, he often resorted instead to projecting the images onto walls via color slides – a practice that left his archive with hundreds of transparencies but little in the way of vintage color prints, thus obscuring until recently the importance of this work in the larger scheme of his career.
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