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|New Zealand's South Pacific and Tasman Sea is the newest chapter in Chip Hooper's ongoing series of ocean photographs. The first installment, California's Pacific, was exhibited at Robert Mann Gallery in 2004. In recent years, Hooper's travels have taken him to the rugged shores of New Zealand. He continues to perfect his approach to photographing the ocean, steadily refining his sense of lyrical minimalism, as in Toward Dunedin, South Pacific, 2003, where a horizon of dark water is broken by a jagged line of distant mountains, or in Cape Foulwind Beach, Tasman Sea, 2003, where a monolithic cliff rises beyond the frame.|
Chip Hooper has matched — and arguably surpassed — the technical precision of the early masters of landscape photography whose work inspired him years ago. Hooper's pristine silver prints convey his unique contemporary vision of natural beauty — he captures the vast solitude and quiet spirituality of the ocean as few artists have before him. These meditative studies of sea, sky, and atmosphere preserve the emotional communion between the artist and his subject and encourage the viewer to experience that same tranquil state of mind.
Chip Hooper was born in Miami in 1962 and was raised in Chicago. 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, Boston, Monterey Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, and the Tokyo Photographic Cultural Center. He lives in Carmel Valley, California.
Hooper's photographs of New Zealand beaches and seascapes are classically beautiful and restrained in a style reminiscent of Richard Misrach or Joel Meyerwitz, but in rich, subtle, serene black-and-white. Although they're the furthest thing from avant-garde, the best of these images avoid traps that so much traditional landscape work falls into; no matter how handsome, they're never merely pretty pictures. Hooper nods to history, notably to Gustave Le Gray, but he also acknowledges Hiroshi Sugimoto and Robert Adams without ever losing his own quiet appealing way.