The first major exhibition to be shown internationally of the work of Southern photographer Sally Mann will be displayed at the High Museum of Art from Oct. 19 through Feb. 2.
According to a news release on the exhibition, Mann has made experimental, elegiac and hauntingly beautiful photographs for more than 40 years.
In a exhibition called “Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings,” her photos explore the overarching themes of one’s own existence and deal with such topics as memory, desire, death, the bonds of family and nature’s indifference to the human endeavor.
The exhibition brings together 109 photographs, including new and previously unpublished work, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog that offers an in-depth exploration of the evolution of Mann’s art.
Organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, the exhibition presents figure studies, landscapes and architectural views that are united by their common origin and inspiration in the American South.
Using her deep love of her homeland and her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage, Mann asks powerful, provocative questions — about history, identity, race and religion — that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.
In an interview, Sarah Kennel, the High’s curator of photography, said residents should want to see this powerful exhibition, whether they are familiar with her photos or not.
“This exhibition would be special for people who do not know Sally Mann’s work because it will touch on our most basic human experiences of such topics as love, raising children and other facets of life,” Kennel said. “In addition, her work will help us reflect, especially here in Atlanta, on the South.”
Kennel, who worked at the Peabody Essex Museum until joining the High in July, developed this project with Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs at the National Gallery.
“I’m thrilled to launch my tenure at the High with ‘A Thousand Crossings,’ an exhibition that is not only dear to my heart, but also makes perfect sense for the museum, which awarded Sally Mann the first ‘Picturing the South’ commission in 1996,” she said in the release.
“Mann’s drive to ask the big questions, about love, death, war, race and the fraught process of growing up, coupled with her ability to coax powerful emotional resonances from the materials of her art, make her one of today’s most compelling artists.”
In a news release, High Director Rand Suffolk said with this exhibition, the museum would continue to recognize the importance of Mann’s work, “which explores themes that will strongly resonate with our regional audience but that also addresses universal human concerns.”
“We are delighted to have Sarah on board to lead the project, and we look forward to bringing these powerful photographs to Atlanta,” he said.
The exhibition investigates how her relationship with the South — a place rich in literary and artistic traditions but troubled by history — has shaped her work, the release stated.
Tickets to the exhibition are included with admission to the museum and are $14.50 for adults and free for High members and children 5 and under. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.high.org.