Past meets present in Woodmere Art Museum's 'Landscape' exhibit

The Woodmere Art Museum is taking a page from the past to start a conversation in the present.

The museum's new exhibition, The Pennsylvania Landscape, juxtaposes works from the Impressionist period with contemporary works of art.

"Bringing that art of the past into the present and making a dialogue into the present with our visitors," explains Bill Valerio, the Woodmere Museum's Director and CEO.

There are 75 works on view-paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and video.

"The videos are exciting," Valerio says. "We're always looking to work with contemporary artists that are pushing the boundaries of new media."

A 3D video takes visitors on a virtual journey.

"That starts on the Wissahickon, walking along with other people," Valerio says. "It takes the Mega Bus to New York, goes through New York, up the highline, and comes back to Philadelphia."

And you have to wear 3D glasses for it all to make sense.

The video is paired with an image taken by 19th-century photographer James Cramer using 3D technology.

"He used a special camera that made stereograph photographs that you have to look through a view master," Valerio says.

Walter Schofield's 20th-century painting, Wissahickon in Winter, hangs alongside a 2014 photograph of the same landscape taken by Philadelphia photographer Ron Tarver.

"For Schofield, he's showing the majesty of nature in an untouched kind of way," Valerio explains, while the contemporary photographer, "zeroes in on a magical little moment that's very abstract."

It appears to be water flowing over rocks.

""But it might not be water; it might be air," Valerio says. "You do not quite know."

It's the mission of the Woodmere to feature artists from Philadelphia, and this show highlights the museum as the home for Pennsylvania Impressionism.

"It puts Woodmere's best step forward," Valerio says, "It's looking at this landscape that we all share and considering the way artists explore it"

The Woodmere Museum: The Pennsylvania Landscape (through Jan. 27)
9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
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