Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Boy walking in forest

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Untitled, 1960.
Gelatin silver print, 7.5 x 8 in.
Guy Davenport Collection, Harry Ransom Center.
© The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Wildly Strange: The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard March 7, 2015 – June 21, 2015

Note: This exhibition will be on view at the Blanton Museum of Art

In the late 1950s, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925–1972) began staging elaborate visual dramas enacted by his wife, children, and close friends, often employing multiple exposure, blur, and abstraction. The abandoned farmhouses and densely wooded forests of rural Kentucky served as sets for Meatyard's symbolic scenes, turning otherwise ordinary family snapshots into unsettling vignettes of life in a deteriorating South.

Groundbreaking in their time and challenging even today, Meatyard's photographic fictions were embraced by his circle of writers and artists, and many of his photographs ultimately entered the Harry Ransom Center collection with the papers of his peers. Forty photographs from the Ransom Center collection, principally drawn from writers' archives, comprise this collaborative exhibition presented at the Blanton Museum of Art.

Wildly Strange: The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard highlights the intersections between artists and writers that can be traced across the collections at the Ransom Center. Organized by Jessica S. McDonald, Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography at the Harry Ransom Center, this exhibition celebrates the collective strength of cultural institutions across The University of Texas at Austin campus.

Exhibition poster

Frank Reaugh: Landscapes of Texas and the American West August 4, 2015 – November 29, 2015

Artist, educator, inventor, and naturalist, Charles Franklin Reaugh (1860–1945), pronounced "Ray," is one of the Southwest's earliest and most distinguished artists. Working in the vein of American Impressionism, Reaugh devoted his career to visually documenting the vast, unsettled regions of the Southwest before the turn of the twentieth century.

Drawing on more than 200 artworks in the Ransom Center's Frank Reaugh collection, as well as other archives, museums, and private collections across the state, the exhibition examines Reaugh's mastery of the pastel medium and his sophisticated yet direct approach to the challenges of landscape painting, particularly en plein air (painting outdoors). While Reaugh's contributions have often been linked to the region, his work holds broad historical precedents.

Highlights include side-by-side comparisons of his small field sketches with larger studio works illustrating the same geographic location and "Twenty-four Hours with the Herd," Reaugh's epic series of mural-size pastels that served as the centerpiece of his performance work of the same title.

The exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to experience a historical survey of the most significant works created by an artist often referred to as "the Dean of (early) Texas Artists."

A companion publication, Windows on the West: The Art of Frank Reaugh, edited by exhibition curator Peter Mears, will be published by University of Texas Press.

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