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Mary Randlett 1924-2019: In Remembrance
Since 1949, celebrated photographer Mary Randlett has documented the Pacific Northwest with passion, intelligence, and grace. She passed away January 17, 2019 at the age of 94. Over forty national institutions hold her work in their collections. These include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian institution in Washington D.C, and the University of Washington in Seattle. She received the Artist Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
She is perhaps best known for her portraits of Northwest artists, writers and poets. She chose to capture her subjects in their studios and working environments. This approach carries through to her nature photography. Describing her process, Randlett stated, "I have always worked in the field, never in a studio because I wanted to photograph the subjects in their own environment. It is the spirit of the subject at hand which is the most important and I, as the photographer, stay in the background. For me, nature is the rejuvenator of aesthetic energy and is the enricher of my life and work. Without nature there can be no beauty of dreams, without dreams I cannot create."
It is an honor to present eight photographs by Mary Randlett held in the State Art Collection. These black and white images capture unique visions of the Northwest landscape. Her compositions focus on how forms are "illuminated and molded by the light and shadow of the moment." Randlett takes the viewer from the glittering beaches of Washington's coast at sunset, to the ethereal glow of falling water crossing Snoqualmie Pass. In doing so, she communicates something intuitive and essential about beauty in nature.