Joseph Bellows Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent work by Enrico Natali. The exhibition will focus on Natali's contemporary color work, since his return to photography after a 25 year hiatus. His approach to his subject - Americans and the urban American environment - has not changed but rather been confirmed.
There will be an opening reception for the artist, on Saturday March 3rd, from 5 - 8pm.
"The inherent nature of reality, where every moment is complete in and of itself - independent of subject matter, time or place - is revealed in the experience of the beautiful." - Enrico Natali
Enrico Natali was born in 1933 in Utica, New York. He grew up and attended public schools in Carthage, a village located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. In 1951 he developed an interest in photography while a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. He left the academy in 1954 and shortly thereafter went to work for New York illustrator/photographer Anton Bruehl.
In 1960 he made a series of photographs of people in the New York City subway. These photographs significantly transcended his previous work and convinced him that photography was his vocation and America his subject. These vintage subway photographs are currently on view at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and are also available for purchase at the gallery, along with other vintage works by Natali.
From that time on he lived and photographed in various parts of the country, including New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit, and eventually produced a series of portraits published as New American People (Morgan & Morgan, New York, 1972). In the following years he traveled extensively in the United States, making a series of photographs that, together with the work of photographer Mark Sandrof, was published under the title American Landscapes (Panopticon Press, Boston, 1991).
Sam Wagstaff, then curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Art Institute, whose interest in photography was awakened by Natali's photographs, later became an influential collector, and when Natali applied for a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Wagstaff, Ansel Adams, and Hugh Edwards were enthusiastic references.
In the late 1960s he began a meditation practice that eventually became his primary focus and culminated in his abandoning photography and devoting himself to that practice while raising a family and building a home in the wilds of California’s Los Padres National Forest. In 1990 he and his wife, Nadia, started a Zen meditation center that is now called the Blue Heron Center for Integral Studies.
In the year 2000 his 15-year-old son, Andrei, suggested that they go on a photography trip that, together with the new digital technology, reawakened his interest in photographing. The following year he began the project Just Looking.