Terri Weifenbach|The May Sun
Sunday, April 9 ー Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The May Sun (2015)
©Terri Weifenbach
Izu Photo Museum is honored to host the first solo exhibition at any art museum, anywhere in the world, of work by American photographer Terri Weifenbach (b. 1957).
Weifenbach embarked on her photography practice in the 1970s after studying painting at the University of Maryland, and has since published 15 well-received photo books.
“The May Sun” will center on The Politics of Flowers, one of Weifenbach’s leading projects, released in book form in 2005 and The May Sun series produced during Weifenbach’s long-term residency at Izu Photo Museum in 2015.
Following the death of her beloved mother in 2003, Weifenbach came across Pressed flowers from the Holy Land, a 19th-century book made using flowers blooming in Palestine, and it was this encounter that inspired her to produce The Politics of Flowers. The blooms in the old book spoke to Weifenbach of the cruelty of living in the conflict-ridden part of the world from which they were collected, and how we can engage with the deaths of others, and carefully, she draws out these words spoken by the pressed flowers.
The exhibition will comprise around 110 works, including The May Sun series and a video work shot at the Kakita River springs (Shimizu-cho, Shizuoka), being presented publicly for the first time.


1. Terri Weifenbach’s first-ever, much-anticipated major solo museum show
This will be the first solo outing at a museum anywhere in the world for American photographer Terri Weifenbach. Having majored in painting at the University of Maryland, Weifenbach began taking photographs in the 1970s, and since then has continued to produce work dominated by natural landscapes. Her photos are distinguished chiefly by their vibrant, painterly colors and differential focusing,* and since her publishing debut with In Your Dreams (Nazraeli Press, 1997), she has released 15 photo books, all highly rated.
*Differential focusing is the technique of reducing the depth of focus to an extreme degree in order to highlight the object in focus.

2. First-ever gallery display of The Politics of Flowers series (2004)
This exhibition represents the first gallery display in Japan or elsewhere of “The Politics of Flowers” series, published in book form by onestar press in 2005.
2001 was the year of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Two years later, in 2003, Weifenbach lost her beloved mother. Encountering during this period Pressed flowers from the Holy Land, a book of flowers growing in Palestine, she turned her attention to what the flowers were telling her. It turns out the pressed flowers photographed by Weifenbach have much to say to our modern world with its multiplicity of complex issues including a worldwide increase in terrorist attacks and conflicts, and the migrant crises they spawn.

—On The Politics of Flowers Terri Weifenbach
I had always photographed to help understand difficult things. [...] I found these little Pressed Flowers from the Holy Land books. I thought about how difficult it was for me to handle the loss of my mother and I thought of this land with its continued conflict. [...] I could not imagine how it would feel to lose multiple close family members, or a child, or have a wounded child. These flowers in varying states of decay and preservation told the story to me perfectly. [...] But I wanted to say it carefully and not loud. A viewer should FEEL it, not be told.
The Politics of Flowers (2004)
©Terri Weifenbach
The Politics of Flowers (2004)
©Terri Weifenbach

3. The photographer’s latest work, The May Sun series (2015)
This exhibition will be the first public showing of The May Sun, a series of photographs produced by Terri Weifenbach during her long-term residency at Izu Photo Museum. The title of the series has its origin in a poem by American poet Wallace Stevens (1879–1955).
In Stevens’ poem, warm sunlight shining on a world wreathed in darkness is expressed as a metaphor for light shining on memories of sadness, re-illuminating them. Weifenbach finds scenes reminiscent of Stevens’ poem amid natural landscapes thrown into constant flux by the movement of wind and light.

4. Weifenbach’s first venture into video works
The show will include two installations combining photographs and video footage, in Weifenbach’s first venture into video. The videos were shot at the Kakita River springs (Shimizu-cho, Shizuoka) and the Gotemba approach to Mt. Fuji (Gotemba-shi, also in Shizuoka). The video images focus on subtle changes amid the abundance of nature, while the accompanying sequence photos offer snapshots of the constant flux of the natural world, capturing the likes of flowing, thread-like lines of water, and the appearance of clouds.
The May Sun (2015)
©Terri Weifenbach

Terri Weifenbach

Born in 1957 in New York City, USA. Weifenbach embarked on her photography practice in the 1970s after majoring in fine arts at the University of Maryland. She garnered attention with her first photobook In Your Dreams (Nazraeli Press, 1997) and all 15 photo-collections she has published to date including Hunter Green (Nazraeli Press, 2000), centered on landscape photos including green plants and Lana (Nazraeli Press, 2002), which was shot in Italy, have been highly acclaimed for their singular depictions of the natural landscape and stunning book design. She recently published the photo book Stilll (Super Labo, 2013), and held the exhibition “Gift” at IMA Gallery (Tokyo) together with Rinko Kawauchi in 2014. She is currently a professor at Georgetown University, and was recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015. She lives and works in Washington D.C.
@Kate MacDonnell

Related events

● Artist talk
A conversation between Ryuichi Kaneko (photography historian) and Terri Weifenbach
Date/time: Sunday, April 9, 15:30–17:00
Place: Clematis no Oka Hall (a two-minute walk from the Museum)
Admission free with a same-day ticket to the exhibition
Please book by phone: Tel. +81(0)55-989-8780

● Gallery talks by the curator
Date/time: Second and fourth Saturdays of each month at 14:15
Admission free with a same-day ticket to the exhibition
No booking necessary. Please gather at the museum counter at the above-mentioned date and time.

Related Publication

Terri Weifenbach The May Sun
Date of publication: April , 2017
Published by Izu Photo Museum
Sold by NOHARA

Organized by Izu Photo Museum With a grant from The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences