“Form and Light” will feature 30 photographs by Brett Weston (1911-1993) through May 21 at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin.
Many of the images were donated to the museum by the Christian Keesee Collection in conjunction with the Brett Weston Archive, based in Oklahoma City. They include landscapes, urban scenes, botanicals, and formal studies, all rendered in Weston’s signature style.
Born in Los Angeles in 1911, Weston was the second son of well-known photographer Edward Weston, with whom he shared a close artistic relationship.
In 1925, his father took him to Mexico, where the 13-year-old became his apprentice. Surrounded by revolutionary artists of the day, such as Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera, it was in Mexico that the younger Weston first began making photographs with a small Graflex camera.
Extracting objects from their context to focus on minute details of line and shape, as well as contrasts of light and dark, Weston’s photographs are visual studies of form and light.
Military service, photographic assignments, and grants offered opportunities to document diverse landscapes, ranging from the buildings of New York City to rolling desert sands in the American Southwest. In Weston’s photographs, such quotidian subjects as a botanical specimen or a broken window become abstract meditations of light, shadow, and form that reveal the beauty of the natural and built environments.