Madison newcomer Ida Wyman, whose career as a photojournalist began in the 1940s, is the subject of a one-person show at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Twenty-five of Wyman's black-and-white photographs are on display in the museum's Works-on-Paper Study Center.
A former resident of Bronx, New York, Wyman moved to Madison in 2006. Individual Experience: The Photographs of Ida Wyman, is her first one-person exhibition in a museum.
Like many women during the war years, Wyman seized the opportunity to pursue a professional career. In 1943, she began working in the mailroom at Acme Newspictures (later UPI), where she eventually became the agency's first female printer, helping to forge a path for women in the chiefly male world of photojournalism.
Individual Experience presents works drawn principally from the years following World War II, Wyman's most active period as a freelance photographer. During these years, Wyman worked on assignment for Life magazine, The New York Times, and other prominent publications. Her photographs depict daily life in America's modern metropolitan centers, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
Resisting the detached cynicism that dominated much of American photography in the postwar era, Wyman expressed a sympathetic approach to her subjects. The often indistinguishable backdrops in her photographs have a universalizing effect on their inhabitants—at the same time documenting an America increasingly defined by its uniformity. Her photographs often focus on solitary figures-—usually women or children—with an intimacy somewhat rare in urban images. In a 2001 interview with B&W Magazine, Wyman explained one of the appeals of photography for her: "The camera was a way to get closer—as if you had a child or a small dog. It was a very good introduction to someone else's life."
"Her photographs manage to be both specific and universal. They will appeal to those who remember mid-century America, as well as those who simply respond to a human moment captured on film," says MMoCA curatorial assistant Carl Fuldner, who organized the exhibition.
The Works-on-Paper Study Center is open during First Fridays at MMoCA and from 4-6 pm on other Fridays. It is also open by appointment during weekday museum hours. To schedule an appointment, visitors should call the museum at 608.257.0158.
Individual Experience: The Photographs of Ida Wyman has been generously funded by The Douglas Stewart Company.
Art Talk with Ida Wyman • Friday, March 7 • 6:30 pm
Ida Wyman will discuss her work in an illustrated Art Talk beginning at 6:30 pm on Friday, March 7, 2008. The talk will take place in the Rotunda Studio of Overture Center for the Arts in conjunction with First Fridays at MMoCA. The Art Talk is free and open to the public.