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Big Picture! features photographs by 13 Texas artists. Curated by Bryan Wheeler, these large-scale works and coordinated multiples represent a variety of approaches to contemporary photography. Still, they are unified by their consideration of the camera less as a “transparent machine” than a tool with a wide-ranging capacity for experimentation. Meaning is made here through associative or narrative threads stressing alternately the immediacy and infinite manipulability of the medium. That is, they are both about their subjects and “studies in the possibilities of photography.” By turns, they disrupt and deconstruct, and accumulate meaning through repetition and variation. For example, Molly Shigemoto upsets the embedded personal “meanings” of old photographs by drawing out the often-encoded social structures that inform and limit identity. Kalee Appleton, for her part, refuses the captured image its authority, finality, and unity by treating it as a fragmentary element to be reconstituted and reconsidered within a meditation on digital manipulation. Several of these artists, such as Rachel Cox and Mary Beth Koeth, find beauty in the everyday, but bend it to different ends—Cox’s seductive hot tubs are suffused with an underlying sense of dread, while Koeth’s unerring sincerity humanizes usually-caricatured subjects. Finally, taken together, these large-scale photos assert themselves within the history of art, asking us to consider them as we would “history painting,” murals, and massive twentieth-century abstractions. They don’t use scale as a claim to authority like their predecessors, however, but as assertions of inclusivity looking to be taken seriously, or satires that dare us to do so.

List of Artists:
Bale Creek Allen, Austin
Katy Anderson, Houston
Kalee Appleton, Dallas
Rachel Cox, Dallas
Joe Harjo, San Antonio
Mary Beth Koeth, Dallas/Miami
Jack Massing, Houston
Mark Menjivar, San Antonio
Rolando Sepulveda, San Antonio/Los Angeles
Molly Shigemoto, Denton
Sherwin Rivera Tibayan, Austin
Tom Turner, San Antonio
Bryan Wheeler, Lubboc