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Richard Learoyd Photography Exhibition Opens

       Luminous, Seductive Images Captivate Viewers; Learoyd in Conversation in Atkins Auditorium

Kansas City, MO. Jan 26, 2017–Contemporary English photographer Richard Learoyd, using a large camera obscura in his East London studio, creates figure studies, portraits and still lifes that are neither glamorous nor retouched, yet they exude serene power along with mesmerizing detail. Richard Learoyd: In the Studio, an exhibition organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and curated by Arpad Kovacs, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Getty, opens at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Feb. 10. Learoyd will be in Kansas City and in conversation with Photography Curator April M. Watson in Atkins Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m., sponsored by The Photography Society. Tickets are free and can be reserved at www.nelson-atkins.org/.

The exhibition includes 18 large-scale color photographs and two artist’s books.

“Richard Learoyd is internationally recognized as one of the most compelling contemporary photographers of our time,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “His images convey both a psychological depth and a physical weight. We find in them the timeless qualities that make us human: strength, vulnerability, boredom, determination, confidence and shame.”

Learoyd’s process is as singular as the artist himself. Using a room-sized camera obscura, which is a dark chamber fitted with a lens, he creates an upside-down image and exposes it on a large sheet of light-sensitive paper. He then feeds the paper into a color-processing machine attached to the camera. Since the resulting print is not enlarged from a negative, each photograph is unique and exceptionally sharp. He admits his process is restrictive and labor-intensive.

“Learoyd creates visually seductive images that invite viewers to slow down and engage with the art,” said Watson. “His works inspire thoughtful consideration of the many beautiful complexities that make us human.”

Richards’s still lifes are unconventional. In one piece, two cuttlefish have been trussed in thread as ink dribbles down the silvery flesh, hanging in midair. Recalling the still life paintings of Francis Bacon, the photograph becomes an abstract study in the tension between organic and geometric forms. Another photograph, both beautiful and disturbing, features the lifeless, contorted body of a flamingo perched on a piece of glass against a plain studio backdrop.

Richard Learoyd: In the Studio runs through June 11.

Image captions: Richard Learoyd, English (b. 1966). Erika, 2005. Silver-dye bleach print, 60 5/8 × 50 13/16 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2009.6.76. © Richard Learoyd, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

Richard Learoyd, English (b. 1966). Man with octopus tattoo II, 2011. Silver-dye bleach print, 58 5/16 × 49 1/4 inches. Lent by the Wilson Centre for Photography. © Richard Learoyd, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

This exhibition has been organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and curated by Arpad Kovacs, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at the Getty. In Kansas City, the show is supported by the Hall Family Foundation.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned collection of nearly 40,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. The institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins has included the 165,000-square-foot Bloch Building expansion and renovation of the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org/.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art