Ray K. Metzker Locks Gallery Philadelphia

My Philadelphia! 96-CF-19, 1996

gelatin silver print, edition 1/10

20 x 16 inches 

My Philadelphia! 99-O-22, 1999

gelatin silver print, 4/10

20 x 16 inches

Press Release

Metzker studied at Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology under the modern masters Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind from 1958-59 and that school's Bauhaus formalism influenced his early work.  He began photographing Philadelphia after a move here in 1962 and the city continued to be a subject through his 1983 series City Whispers. These photographs are dramatic and stark, showing intense architectural shadows slicing through almost vacant streets.  At the time, Anne Tucker wrote, "Metzkerr doesn't look for frailty, perversion, or defeat; he conveys the vitality of the city."

From the 1980s until the late 1990s, Metzker made several series of landscape photographs including scenes of France, Wisconsin, and Utah. His compositions, which had been almost geometric in their precision, became joyfully chaotic and fragmented, with shimmering sharp and unsharp, near and far, and light and dark passages.  These works were brought together in a retrospective exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2000.

Metzker's My Philadelphia shows the artist returning to an urban subject for the first time in almost twenty years and show his familiarity and delight with the city. These tender and intelligent works synthesize his earlier series of cityscapes and landscapes showing a city filled with trees and architectural details.

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