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MICA Honors Longtime Faculty Member Jack Wilgus With Retrospective Exhibition Oct. 15–Nov. 15

College’s Former Chair of Photography Shares Excerpts of His Work in Series

Posted 09.15.09 by MICA Media Relations

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Jack Wilgus, Macroscape/Potassium Ferrocyanide

BALTIMORE--MICA highlights the artistic career of former chair of photography Jack Wilgus in Selected Series: A Retrospective of Photographs by Jack Wilgus, Thursday, Oct. 15-Sunday, Nov. 15 in the Pinkard Gallery, Bunting Center (1401 W. Mount Royal Ave.). The exhibition will feature brief excerpts from many of his explorations with photographic series in color, black and white, infrared, computer generated, multiple images and alternative processes, as well as of subject matters ranging from landscape to still life to macroscopic. A public reception takes place Thursday, Oct. 15, 5-7 p.m.

"I am pleased to have this opportunity to share the evolution of my approach to the photographic medium with the MICA community," Wilgus said. "I look back with pleasure on my years at the College and look forward to continued image making and research in the history of photography."

Wilgus has always worked in photographic series, allowing him to develop an idea extensively and to learn from the photographs as they are made. He believes any subject or conceptual concept can change and assume new meaning as it is explored over time.

Before retirement, Wilgus taught photography at MICA for 40 years and was the chair of the department for 30. Now a professor emeritus working on several personal projects, Wilgus has explored digital, infrared panoramas and archival digital printing. Currently, he is researching the history of camera obscura, working toward the publication of a book.  For more information on his research projects, visit http://brightbytes.com.

Recently, a daguerreotype photograph in Wilgus' collection was identified as the first image of the famous patient Phineas Gage. Read The Boston Globe article about this photograph here.

Wilgus has had solo exhibitions at Baltimore Museum of Art; Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; University of Dayton in Ohio; Louisiana Tech University in Ruston; and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. His photographs are in many collections, including George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.; Baltimore Museum of Art; The University of Arizona; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Goucher College in Towson, Md.

Former Colleagues and Students Discuss Wilgus' Impact on MICA:

"Jack is admired as an educator as much as an artist," said Gerald Ross, MICA's director of exhibitions. "His teaching has been influenced by spending a lifetime researching and collecting works of photography as well as pursuing a strong interest in camera obscura."

Katya Chilingiri '07 '11 studied with Wilgus for two years and was his teaching assistant during his last History of Photography class before retirement in 2008. "While Jack's syllabus was the history of photography from 1839 to present, his ultimate goal was to show each student how to become a fulfilled, meaningful photographer," Chilingiri said. "For all of us in the classroom, it was an adventure and a chance to learn something of the world of images beyond textbooks and slideshows."

Wilgus was a mentor for Colette Veasey-Cullors '96, first when she was his graduate teaching intern and later when she became a photography faculty member. "Jack Wilgus was my role model for how a teacher can inspire and educate his or her students," Veasey-Cullors said. "He helped me gain confidence in finding my own way to motivate in the classroom."

MICA's galleries, which are free and open to the public, are open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. For more information, call 410-225-2300.

Image caption: Jack Wilgus, Macroscape/Potassium Ferrocyanide, cibarchrome print, 1978.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.