Forever and Never: Photographs by Dan Estabrook

September 7, 2024–January 19, 2025
East Building, Level B, Gallery 1 (Julian T. Baker Jr. Gallery) and 2 (Allen G. Thomas Jr. Gallery)

This exhibition features works by artist Dan Estabrook, who uses 19th-century photographic printing processes and materials to examine history and memory in contemporary images. Adopting a familiar language of the passage of time, he utilizes elements that one identifies with something old and worn—stains, spills, tears, folds, fading, discoloration—to create the appearance of age. In his words, “I want a viewer’s first reaction to be one of wonder. Is this a found photograph? An old thing, lost and rediscovered?”

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In an era in which we are constantly bombarded with images, where everyone is a photographer with the click of a smartphone, where images and facts are constantly manipulated and fabricated by artificial intelligence and digital technology, Estabrook creates photographs that are unique objects. Using antiquated photographic processes that rely on the artist’s hand, he questions photography’s ability to “tell the truth” from its very inception.

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. Research for this exhibition was made possible by Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.

Dan Estabrook, Forever and Never, 2004, unique pencil on calotype and salt print, each 5 × 7 in., Gift of Allen G. Thomas Jr. in honor of Linda Johnson Dougherty

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