Browse by Artist

Artist: McMillan, Jerry 4 of 14 Previous Previous | Next Next

Untitled, 1978

Jerry McMillan

American, 1936-
Sulfide duo-tone from black-and-white photographic print
Sheet: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
© Jerry McMillan

Not on view

Jerry McMillan defies easy classification as a photographer, and his work has continually challenged traditional assumptions about the medium. Early in his career, he asked, “Does a photograph need to be flat?” and went on to produce innovative three-dimensional photo-bags and photo-etched aluminum and stainless steel sculptures. His maverick status was recognized early on when the photo historian Peter Bunnell, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, included McMillan’s work in the paradigm-shifting exhibition “Photography into Sculpture” in 1971.

Portfolio #1 resulted from another set of questions the artist pondered: Must a photograph record an object, scene or event? Or “could photography produce a pure, camera-made, non-objective abstraction… Could [photography] be concerned with spatial relationships so that the photographic part of a photograph is invisible?” To find out, the artist created geometric forms that appear to rise magically from the surface of brown kraft paper. These setups were lighted to enhance their dimensional effect, and photographed in black and white. The prints were enlarged and then toned using a sulfide duo-tone process to closely match the brown kraft paper originals. The result is a testament to McMillan’s wit and inventiveness—the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional plane, with little evidence of the creative process.

Artist: McMillan, Jerry 4 of 14 Previous Previous | Next Next