Piante Gallery


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It's About Time: William Pierson at Piante


As an artist, William Pierson is well known for his evocative nature photography: for capturing moments when the natural and the metaphysical merge. He's also known for his rigorous exhibition schedule. For 35 years, Pierson mounted large scale exhibitions annually. That strict schedule has changed in recent years due to a number of factors, and it's been four years since his last show. This exhibition hiatus was the result, in part, of a change in attitude and process. Pierson has allowed himself to step out of what was a constant cycle of show-prep and into a more organic timeline. His show of new work, "Diary of an Artist," displays the results of his ongoing contemplative cataloging of moment, emotion, and environment.

Pierson's new photographs retain the themes and energy his work has demonstrated for years. The new pictures are immediately recognizable as William Pierson photographs: silhouetted trees, atmospheric skies, meditative horizons, and time-lapsed celestial abstractions abound. And, of course, there's plenty of water. "We all have things we're attracted to. I need to be near water. If I were in Kansas, I'd probably die," Pierson said, followed by his signature bellowing laugh.

One notable difference in Pierson's new work is how the pieces are titled and displayed. In addition to titles, each piece includes a date, location, time of initial exposure, and number. The photographs will be displayed chronologically. While the passage of time has always been an important element in Pierson's work, (the movement of stars across the night sky, seasonal changes, the subtle, second by second variation of light and shadow) now there's a new temporal connection between subject and artist. Viewing the work in the context of a visual diary, the regular recording of visual information over time, we experience the artist moving through time while simultaneously documenting moments in time. Pierson captures moments when his internal, emotional experience of the instant becomes manifest in the external, natural world.

Those familiar with Pierson's work may notice another subtle difference in the new photographs. "I've always sought out symmetry," explained Pierson, "but it seems to be appearing in the work more and more." Sometimes this symmetry is planned, other times it isn't. "My favorite way of working photographically is when I don't know what the outcome is going to be," Pierson said. "The best ones are gifts."