Warhol photos and more on display in Lenoir

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 08:35 AM

The iconic artist Andy Warhol used Polaroids and black-and-white prints to document the world around him, in painstaking detail.

This month at the Caldwell Arts Council, a collection of the prolific pop artist’s photographs are on display alongside the work of Lenoir photographer Bob Phipps and strobe-photography pioneer Harold “Doc” Edgerton.

“Image-inations” opens tonight in the main gallery at the Caldwell Arts Council building, with a reception from 5 to 7. The exhibit runs through Feb. 28.

The Warhol photos are on loan from the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University, which received the photos as a gift to its permanent collection in 2007. And they’re worth a look for reasons beyond their creator’s pedigree, said Lee Carol Giduz, the executive director of the arts council. The Polaroid photo is an art form in itself, she said – because, unlike both digital and traditional film photographs, they can’t be altered after the fact.

“You can’t really change it, unlike most photography, where you go into the darkroom and you can manipulate it,” Giduz said. “Polaroid, you get what you take, so that adds an interesting element to it.”

The photos will share space with the stop-action stills taken by Edgerton, the photographer behind iconic images of balloons bursting, milk splashing and bullets slicing through apples. Edgerton’s photos are on loan from the Hickory Museum of Art.

A local artist, Phipps, rounds out the exhibit. A biologist and photographer, Phipps shoots strong-contrast, black-and-white photographs reminiscient of the work of Ansel Adams.

Taken together, Giduz said, the exhibit offers a look at the wide range of art that photographers can create.

“We liked them together because they really show some breadth to what can be done with photography,” she said. “You’ve got the more traditional black and white, you’ve got the fast-action still, which is a very specialized form, and then the old Polaroid that everybody thought wouldn’t last because the colors weren’t great, sort of a bygone era of media. It’s three totally different styles of photography. Together, you get an exhibit with a lot of depth to it.”