Denver Art Museum to Host Chuck Forsman Photography Exhibition

Exhibition features contemporary Western landscapes by the Colorado artist

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will host the exhibition Seen in Passing: Photographs by Chuck Forsman, November 17, 2013–May 25, 2014. Seen in Passing features more than 40 black and white photographs from two complementary bodies of work: Western Rider and Walking Magpie as well as three paintings. Western Rider looks at Western landscapes from one of the most familiar vantage points of the present age—the driver’s seat of a car—as Forsman surveys places that range from Indian reservations to urban oil refineries, from a cemetery in the famous copper smelting town of Anaconda, Montana, to a gleaming reservoir in Hells Canyon, Idaho. Walking Magpie takes a coast-to-coast inventory of American landscapes as Forsman saw the country while walking his dog Magpie.

Chuck Forsman, Litchfield Park, Arizona, 2001. Inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.
“Each photographic series takes as its starting point a routine event in American life—grabbing the car keys or picking up a leash,” said Eric Paddock, curator of photography at the DAM. “This allows Forsman to take us to places that are more ordinary than exotic, transforming the everyday excursion into a personal exploration of—or perhaps, a mindful meditation on—the look of the contemporary American landscape.”

With few exceptions, Forsman concentrates on everyday places rather than on scenic attractions; he stays away from lenses or vantage points that distort how things appear so that his subjects look much the way anyone else would find them.

“Some people think they have to go to exotic places or the far ends of the earth to find excitement,” said Forsman. “I’ve always liked the idea of finding interest at home; just walking around the block can be an experience.”

For more than 40 years, Chuck Forsman has been a pioneering landscape artist whose paintings and photographs have engaged environmental and land-use issues from unique personal viewpoints. Forsman is credited as being among the first contemporary artists to link landscape painting and environmental issues. His eye for form, detail and the occasional quiet joke challenge ordinary perceptions of landscape and community and awaken a new sense of how and where we live. In his paintings, strip mines and dams replace canyons and rivers as monuments to the post-industrial word. His uneasy representations of the tension between development and preservation refuse to shy away from the contradictions of the mythic West.

Chuck Forsman, Boulder, Colorado, 2002. Inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.
Included in general museum admission, Seen in Passing will be on view in the Anthony & Delisa Mayer Photography Gallery on level seven of the North Building. Both books corresponding to the exhibition, Western Rider: Views from a Car Window and Walking Magpie: On and Off The Leash, will be available in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum.

About Chuck Forsman

Chuck Forsman was born in Idaho in 1944 and raised in Oregon and northern California. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1967 and an MFA in painting in 1971 from the University of California, Davis. After being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967, Forsman served as an illustrator and photo correspondent in Vietnam from 1968-1969. In 1971, he began teaching painting at the University of Colorado Boulder where he remained for 37 years before retiring in 2008.

Exhibition Credit Line

Seen in Passing: Photographs by Chuck Forsman is supported by the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4 and The Denver Post.

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