Outside the Mainstream
My work in the Midsouth began with a Bernhein Fellowship in 1988. This included a stipend and residency at Bernheim Arboretum and an opportunity to photograph there and the surrounding areas.
I became like the guest to comes to dinner…and stayed. I found the environment refreshing from my usual photography in the American West and British Isles. Since I was also, at the time, working part time in my other profession, I left my camping van at the Forest and commuted with Flagstaff by until the fall.
In 1989 and 1990, I again used Bernheim as a base but extended my wanderings to West Virginia and the surrounding states. In 1990, I approached Thomas Butler, the Curator of Photography at the Huntington Museum of Art. He was impressed with work and arranged for a travelling exhibit and catalogue for December 1990. This was supplemented by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was titled, Outside the Mainstream.
Mr. Butler wrote an essay for the book, which also included a foreword by Merry Foresta, Curator of Photography at the National Museum of American Art.
“Dick Arentz has taken deliberate steps to show all sides of this landscape without falling onto timeworn, stereotypical approaches. He has succeeded through the honesty and humanitas, and photographs show a refreshing change” Charles T Butler 1990.
“Like (Ansel) Adams, Arentz has practiced his reverence of nature by making the most beautiful image of which he was capable. Like (Edward) Weston, Arentz discovered a formal vocabulary of shape – natural or man-made—in more subjective ways” Merry Foresta