WAM Collection Feature: Paula Chamlee

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.43.26 AM.png
Carmel Highlands, California
1993, 
Paula Chamlee
Collection of the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

The collection of the Weisman Art Museum is extensive and spans far beyond the works on view in the galleries. I first realized this when visiting WAM with one of my Art History classes. We were learning about FSA photography that took place during the Great Depression, and our Professor had some prints pulled for us to view. It was surprising and so incredible to me that our campus museum had prints by famous photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. Viewing their works in person was much more engaging than viewing the works on a PowerPoint slide in class. Access to WAM’s permanent collection is an extremely valuable resource for all students on campus.

Using the online database of WAM’s collection, I discovered many more of the artworks at WAM. I could search works by medium, artist, or by an exhibition that they were in. After about an hour of “fun”, an artist named Paula Chamlee stood out to me.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.42.38 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.43.07 AM

Jökulsárlón, Iceland, 2004, Paula Chamlee  |   Larry Cooper, Birmingham, Alabama, 1993, Paula Chamlee
Collection of the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Chamlee’s works first appealed to me because of her style of photography. All of her works WAM’s collection were shot with an 8×10 film camera during the 1990s and early 2000s. I enjoy studying her photographs because she took them in the contemporary world, but not with contemporary technology. The black and white prints create a sense of nostalgia and artistry, which are feelings that I do not feel in my world everyday. The works appeal to me because they were taken during my lifetime, and yet they feel like a step back into a previous one. Chamlee’s grand Icelandic landscapes are reminiscent of Ansel Adams at Yosemite, and her portraits remind me of Walker Evans and FSA documentary photography. I look at her work and see stories, which I find inspiring and intriguing.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.09.09 AM.png
Pojoaque, New Mexico, 20th century, Paula Chamlee
Collection of the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

After discovering Chamlee’s works at WAM, I became more interested and continued to research her. One of her photographs was used in the 1998 exhibition at WAM, Women in the Weisman Collection: The Spirit of Seneca Falls, commemorating 150 years since the convention of 1948, but her work hasn’t been on view in the galleries since. WAM has a total of 32 Paula Chamlee prints in their collection and they are all available, by appointment, to view in the Art Study room.

To explore more of the Weisman Art Museum’s collection, visit http://wam.umn.edu/the-collection. To make an appointment to view works in the Art Study room, contact our Registrar of Collections Rosa Corral at recorral@umn.edu.

Caitlyn Carr Caitlyn Carr is currently a Senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Art History with a minor in CSCL. Originally from Chicago, she is loving her time in the Twin-Cities (even though she misses her beloved Cubbies). Her passions include traveling, dancing, communicating only through emojis, and of course, telling anyone who will listen how amazing WAM is. Just back from a semester in Italy, she is thrilled to be more involved with the Collective for the upcoming year!

Caitlyn

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s