VIEWPOINTS: Paul Berger

Whatever mathematics lessons remained on the college blackboards when Paul went in after class to photograph are obliterated by erasures and jumbled by double exposed negatives. A mathematician would have no advantage over anyone else in deciphering the lines. Content has been recast into pure form.  And what were once math lessons have been turned into a wild and wonderful dance of line and light.

– Ronald Moore, Professor of Philosophy

Paul Berger (U.S., born 1948). Mathematics #32 [from the Mathematics series]. 1976. Gelatin silver print on resin-coated paper. Henry Art Gallery, Monsen Study Collection of Photography, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen, 92.3.
Paul Berger (U.S., born 1948). Mathematics #32 [from the Mathematics series]. 1976. Gelatin silver print on resin-coated paper. Henry Art Gallery, Monsen Study Collection of Photography, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen, 92.3.
This spring’s iteration of VIEWPOINTS features the work of photographer and UW School of Art faculty emeritus Paul Berger’s 1970’s Mathematics Series. Berger taught for over 30 years and co-founded the UW Photography program in 1978 (later renamed Photomedia). The works in Berger’s Mathematics Series depict blackboards written upon by members of the mathematics department at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign. The images investigate the point where an idea becomes graphic; what Berger calls the “site of notation.”

VIEWPOINTS highlights select works from the Henry’s permanent collection and offers three perspectives on the work by University of Washington faculty members. Seven of Berger’s photographs are displayed alongside the voices of Karen Cheng, Professor of Design, School of Art; Sándor Kovács, Professor of Mathematics; Ronald Moore, Professor of Philosophy. These three faculty members were specifically selected to respond to Berger’s artwork based on their research and teaching interests. We believe multiple voices can help expand our understanding of a work of art, cast a new light on overlooked details, and open our minds to new ideas.

A rotating series, VIEWPOINTS presents new combinations of artworks and voices, emphasizing how works from the Henry’s collection can inspire and provoke new dialogues and thoughts. Paul Berger’s artwork and accompanying faculty viewpoints will be on display on the mezzanine through June 1.

Come and read each faculty response to Berger’s images from March 8 – June 1, 2014. What’s your response?

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