May 12 - JUly 1, 2016
Opening reception: THursday, May 12, 6-8pm
Press release Images

Chip Hooper:
California's Pacific 2nd Set

Chip Hooper once described his method: “the process of creating photographs is a contemplative one. It is an exploration of my feelings as much as it is an exploration of what I am seeing. The best images always happen when what I am feeling becomes one with what I am seeing.” The photographs presented in the Robert Mann Gallery exhibition, Californiaʼs Pacific 2nd Set, are perhaps the best embodiment of his process. These works evoke a visceral response, and when faced with a series of large-format photographs, it is hard not to be caught up in the whirlpool of emotion.

With the recent passing of Chip Hooper, Californiaʼs Pacific 2nd Set takes on new meaning. In his lifelong study of the worldʼs oceans Hooper sought the harmonizing moment where sea and sky become one. Two separate but equally majestic forces are seemingly joined infinitely when light unifies both bodies for one perfect moment. However in Moonlight, Hurricane Point the contemplative merging of sea and sky become the study of a finite moment. It is understood that this union, and really all serendipitous moments, are fleeting; the mirage will diffuse with time given the simple certainty that things change.

The ambiguous melding of the terrestrial with the cosmic become the visual representation of eternity and perhaps, for one man, a metaphor for mortality. The significance of subject matter is also transformed. If Hooper looked to capture what he was feeling, solitary waves in an expansive ocean and isolated rock formations become self-portraits. Perhaps most striking is Evening Clouds, where the moon fearlessly shines out of black night and is carefully cradled over a glassy sea by the exact horizon Hooper was fascinated with capturing. The contemplative response to the works of Chip Hooper is as important to the audience as it was to the artist.

Chip Hooper (1962 - 2016) was born in Miami, and raised in Chicago. His relationship with bodies of water began at an early age, experimenting with photographs of Lake Michigan. He would eventually turn his focus to the worldʼs oceans using his large-format 8 x 10 inch view camera. His work is in permanent collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Monterey Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, and the Tokyo Photographic Cultural Center,  and has been featured in The New York TimesThe New Yorker, ARTnews, The Oregonian, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, among others.

Wall street Journal Features Chip Hooper
William Meyers | June 10, 2016

Chip Hooper (1962-2016) might be mistaken for a Pictorialist; his pictures of large bodies of water are noted for their soft focus and atmospherics. But the function of those elements is not so much sentimentalism or nostalgia as a nature-centered mysticism. In this, he is like Wynn Bullock, Minor White and, for that matter, the 19th-century painters of the Hudson River School. Mr. Hooper was born in Chicago, and when he began photographing at an early age Lake Michigan was his subject. He subsequently took pictures of many of the world’s oceans using an 8-by-10-inch view camera; the large negative captures a lot of detail, like the little ripples before and after the “Single Wave, Pacific Ocean” (2010), as well as subtle modulations of tone at the distant horizon. 
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