de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Seeking Answers: Photographs by Wynn Bullock

April 12 - June 30, 2013

Bullock_PL Tide Pool & Cactus

"As long as I remember, I have been filled with a deep desire to find a means of creatively interacting with the world, of understanding more of what is within and around me...When I photograph, what I am really doing is seeking answers to things."  — Wynn Bullock

Best known for his striking black-and-white images of landscapes and figures in nature, Wynn Bullock's career was marked by an aptitude for experimentation and a quest for deeper understanding. He began his artistic journey as a singer—a Broadway performer and a lover of classical music—but developed an affinity for photography in his mid-twenties and ultimately chose the captured image as his primary means of creative expression. Though he was active alongside well-known California photographers Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston, Bullock's interest in developing and working with new photographic techniques set him apart from the "straight" photography of his peers.

In the 1940s, he investigated solarization, eventually earning a patent for his distinctive process. In the 1960s, he began to work with color and light, experimenting with the elements to see how they would react and interact with one another. And toward the end of his career, in the 1970s, Bullock used various techniques, like negative reversals and flipped images, to enhance the photographs taken with his camera. Yet, despite his predilection for experimentation, his fascination with light remained constant. It is as evident in the subtle tonalities of his black-and-white images as it is in the vibrancy of his color light abstractions.

This exhibition features approximately fifty black-and-white photographs and six color light abstractions that speak to the breadth of works within Bullock's portfolio. The pieces not only highlight his interest in light, but call out a lesser known facet of his work—his inclination toward abstraction. Together the photographs illustrate the artist's ongoing journey to self-discovery and his search for a means of communicating nature's mysteries through the printed image. "Searching is everything—going beyond what you know," he said. "The test of the search is really the things themselves, the things you seek to understand. What is important is not what you think about them, but how they enlarge you."

Images: Wynn Bullock, Point Lobos Tide Pool, 1957, gelatin silver print, Collection of Jonathan Clara, © Bullock family Photography, LLC. All rights reserved. Wynn Bullock, Cactus, 1958, gelatin silver print, Courtesy of the Bullock-Wilson Trust, #1537 © Bullock Family Photography, LLC. All rights reserved.



SCU Student Art Reviews

In spring 2013, students enrolled in Prof. Robin Tremblay-McGaw's English class were asked to write reviews of the de Saisset's current exhibitions. Essays by Ryan Suttle, Henry Targett, and Perry Williams were selected for publication on our website.

Ryan Suttle

Henry Targett

Perry Williams