Tom Fels' Light & Shadow: Cyantypes and Drawings on view at Mitchell Giddings


BRATTLEBORO >> Light & Shadow: Cyanotypes and Drawings by Tom Fels will be on view at Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts, in Brattleboro, from Jan. 7 to Feb. 7. Works on display include large cyanotype prints from the Arbor and Catalpa Series from 2011 to 2014, and a selection of smaller minimalist drawings from the Linea Series of 2014. Concurrent with this exhibition, several of Fels's large drawings from his recent Classics series are included in the biennial Open Call show at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Tom Fels' cyanotype series stem from his lengthy engagement with a single subject: a tree in his garden and its dappled shadows. These' cyanotypes are cameraless photographs, popularly called "sun prints" or "shadow prints." There is no negative; each is unique. The prints are life-sized, 1:1 scale renderings of their natural subject matter. The cyanotype is an early process of great simplicity and unique color (a deep blue, cyan). Typically, the method has been employed to produce silhouettes – of leaves, for example, as in the botanical illustrations of the pioneer British photographer Anna Atkins (1799-1871) – but the same process was also used to make photographic prints from negatives, as well as architectural blueprints.

Fels is a curator and writer specializing in the history of photography, as well as a historian and writer on contemporary history. His curated exhibitions have appeared at the Getty Museum in Malibu and the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. His books on the 1960s, Farm Friends and Buying the Farm have received favorable notice from reviewers and scholars alike.

Fels began showing his recent art in 2013. Cyanotypes from the series on view are now represented in several museum and private collections, including the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A public opening for the exhibition will be held on Thursday, Jan. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. An artist talk is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.

Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts features innovative works by midcareer and established artists in a variety of media. MGFA is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mitchell•Giddings Fine Arts is located at 183 Main St., Brattleboro, For more information call 802-251-8290 or email


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