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Abstracts & Artifacts
Michael Stockhill

On Exhibit
August 29 — October 12, 2013

Opening Reception
Thursday, September 5, 2013
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Admission: Free/Open to the Public

Abstract 1

Abstract 2

Abstract 3

About the Exhibit
ABSTRACTS & ARTIFACTS are digitally printed photographs on exhibition-quality matt photo paper.  Images selected for this exhibition include many that were published in a book by the same title, complemented by other newer images in this series.  The proffered images strive to find the abstract in the ordinary, where rust spots on an old travel trailer can become Trail of Tears, an ethereal triptych where the viewer may imagine the despair and grief of displaced or struggling populations.
Michael asserts that he spent decades with his photography avocation searching for the ultimate landscape—the perfect postcard.  In his estimation, he came close enough to success in this endeavor with an image captured at Triple Divide Pass while on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park.  With hindsight, he recognizes that the many fine landscape images accumulated during this period were constrained by the conventions of the genre.
Some time in this century, he had an unanticipated breakout, suddenly finding abstract compositions in the details of abandoned trucks machinery.  Now, he says he can sometimes find Mondrians on motor vehicles.  As he refined his eye, many of his images became less identifiable as photographs than as abstract paintings.  A selection of such images is the core of this exhibition.  The most common reaction to his work at other exhibitions is “these are photographs?”
While Michael readily admits to having no professional photography training or education, his informal study and practice of the craft goes back to early childhood.  He remembers his first camera as a Roy Rogers model, and fondly recalls taking his black-and-white film for developing and printing to the Lacy Studio in Whitefish when he was seven or eight.  One of his profound regrets is trading a Leica for a motorcycle; another is building a darkroom into his shop in his current Polson, Montana, home in the midst of the digital photography revolution.  Now, working mostly in color, Michael readily adapted to digital photography's astonishing control of all aspects of image capture and presentation.
Michael grew up in Whitefish and Kalispell, leaving for his aviation career.  He retired as a Senior Investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.  His additional professional experience includes working as a managing editor of an aviation magazine, contributing editor, contributing photographer and author of about 200 aviation articles for national magazines.

Sponsored by

Plum Creek Foundation



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