Exhibitions feature photos from coalfields, 19th century landscapes

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Early 20th century photographs from the West Virginia coalfields and reproduced images of 19th century historic landscapes are on display at West Virginia University.

The exhibitions feature Matt Klett and Byron Wolfe’s rephotographed historic landscapes from the 1860s and 1870s and works by coalfield photographer Rufus “Red” Ribble.

The works will remain on display through Feb. 26 in the Creative Arts Center’s Mesaros Galleries.

Lecture

In addition, Klett will present the West Virginia University Division of Art and Design’s annual Deem Distinguished Artist Lecture at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall (200A) at the Creative Arts Center.

The opening reception for both exhibitions will follow at 6 p.m. at the galleries.

Klett and Wolfe’s exhibition, Panoramic Landscapes from the Third View Project, will be on view in the Laura Mesaros Gallery.

The Third View Project was formed in 1997 to document perspectives on time and change in the American West.

Third View rephotographs historic landscape views from the 1860s and 1870s, then makes new photographs, videos and sound recordings and collects other information about the land, its people and their stories.

Groundwork

Initial groundwork for the Third View Project was laid by the Rephotographic Survey Project from 1977-79.

The Rephotographic Survey Project first rephotographed 19th century U.S. Geological Survey photographs and published them in the book Second View.

The Third View field team was formed from an interest in revisiting the sites of the Rephotographic Survey Project photographs after 20 years, as well as adding other early photographs to the Second View project site list.

Paul Mesaros Gallery

On view in the Paul Mesaros Gallery will be an exhibition titled Red Ribble, Coalfield Photographer.

These historic panoramic photographs are being exhibited courtesy of Morgantown photographer Mark Crabtree and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Ribble traveled the Appalachian mining towns of Fayette, Raleigh, Kanawha, Wyoming, Boone, Mercer, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties in southern West Virginia from 1919-57, documenting the coal towns and the men who worked the mines.

According to Crabtree, the camera Ribble used was a Kodak No. 8 Cirkut Outfit.

Hours

All events are free and open to the public. Hours are noon-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The galleries are closed Sundays and university holidays.

For more information contact Robert Bridges, curator, at 304-293-4841 ext. 3210.

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