The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams at Danziger Gallery

Art Scene

The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams at Danziger Gallery

The majestic beauty of Ansel Adams’ black and white photography is legendary. At the very least, seeing his prints up close and personal in Danziger Gallery’s exhibition, The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams, is worth the trip. However, visitors will be pleasantly surprised to view the pairing of the two photographers and learn of their relationship as teacher (Adams) and student (Krantz).

Jim Krantz

Epic Western No. 33, 2017

40 x 60 inches

C-Print

Krantz studied under the guidance of Adams in the mid-70s as a regular student in weeklong workshops offered by the master photographer at his home in Carmel, California. When viewing the work of the two artists together, the lineage of Adams’ remarkable sense of rugged vibrant beauty is immediately evident in Krantz’s work. However, Krantz’s representation of it is entirely his own.

Jim Krantz

Epic Western No. 39, 2017

40 x 60 inches

C-Print

Ansel Adams

Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine. 1944 

16 x 20 inch gelatin silver print 

Where Adams portrays an aesthetic that is very much grounded in an enveloping Earth-centric poeticism, Krantz explores, in contrast, the vibrant tenacity of men, horses, and a pioneering spirit associated with western migration in the United States. In a sense, the exhibition, The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams, engages a timeless dialogue around humans and their relationship to nature; conquest or a harmonious convergence between the two.

Jim Krantz

Epic Western No. 35, 2017

40 x 60 inches

C-Print

Ansel Adams 

Moonrise.. Hernandez, New Mexico. 1941

37 x 46 inch collotype 

Another juxtaposition between the work of Adams and Krantz is Adams’ use of black and white photography and the positioning of his work within the realm of fine art, versus Krantz’s use of color and his work in the field of commercial photography. Krantz’s work for GQ, the US Army, and Marlboro firmly situated him as a maker of iconic images of a particular type of manhood, and continues to launch him into new realms of the commercial world. Most recently, he has worked with Supreme, an iconic streetwear brand, and the furniture company Modernica, where his iconic images of the west have been superimposed on classic fiberglass “Shell” chairs, a mid-century design by Charles and Ray Eames.

Jim Krantz

Epic Western No. 38, 2017

40 x 60 inches

C-Print

Ansel Adams 

Clearing winter storm. 1944

16 x 20 inch gelatin silver print 

The presentation of the chairs and the masculine intensity of Krantz’s images amidst Adams’ breathtaking shots of mountains, waterfalls, and moonlit landscapes may leave viewers with conflicting feelings. An appreciation for material objects and the pursuit of progress in relation to their environmental impact and climate change is a less obvious thread in the pairing of these two artists.

The Way of the West: Jim Krantz and Ansel Adams at Danziger Gallery is on view through December 22, 2017.