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Reality Versus Image: Works by Genius Carl Toth Pioneering Artist, Photographer and Educator

Endicott College is pleased to announce the first one-person exhibit in Massachusetts of works by renowned image-maker and theorist, Carl Toth. Opening September 1 in the Spencer Gallery at the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale Street, Beverly,  Carl Toth:  Pioneering Artist, Photographer and Educator, runs through December 11, 2015.  Gallery Hours are Monday – Friday 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.; extended Gallery Hours after September 13 are Monday – Thursday 12:00 – 7:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Closed on September 7October 12, andNovember 21 – 29.  Programming for this exhibition takes place on Wednesday, October 7 at 4:00 p.m. with a presentation by Dr. Sarah Kennel, Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem followed by a reception. The exhibition and presentation are free and open to the public.  


Carl Toth’s artworks have been described as intellectual and playful, definitive, and vague: The images are deceptively complex and philosophical. His subjects include machines, landscapes, family members, toys, and other non-descript materials. Toth’s choice of photographic media is equally as eclectic; media include hand-tinted black and white prints, SX-70, Xerography, and chromogenic prints. Guest exhibit Curator Andrea Eis said, ”He interjects himself into the physical world, documenting the puzzles in perspective, scale, and reality that he creates. In silver prints of small figures in expansive landscapes, lush color prints of stylized still life constructions, and intricate collages of elements painstakingly trimmed from thousands of Xerox copies, Carl entices viewers to ponder what is ‘real’ and what is ‘image,’ and to experience the paradox of energy coursing through his still images.”


When asked about his work, the artist replied, “My interest in visual narrative grows out of a fascination with the ‘stories,’ both conscious and unconscious, embodied in family snapshots and photo albums. My early works were often parodies of snapshots and used people and animals as primary subjects. By the late ‘70s however, I had become interested in making work that would be somewhat independent of a ‘central character’ – the unifying device so common to most narratives across all strata of our culture. I began to work toward creating a visual meta-language capable of conceptualizing and articulating the slippery interface between our concepts of object and image. By the early ‘80s, I was using copy machines and collage techniques to fabricate my work.”


Endicott College Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, Mark Towner, said, “I ask you to consider this artist educator who, for many years, has been on the cutting edge of avant-garde aesthetics. A man whose ideas are as multifaceted as his imagery, Carl nurtures individual philosophies of art and promotes unique aesthetics practices. For these and many more reasons, Endicott College is proud to present Carl Toth’s first solo exhibition in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”


Vince Carducci, Dean of the College for Creative Studies in Michigan, added, “Trained in English literature as well as photography, Toth has always understood photography to be, like language, first and foremost a sign system. His early work challenged then-accepted photographic aesthetics regarding subject matter, framing, and technique. Specifically, Toth took up the vernacular practice of the snapshot as inspiration right at the moment when photography’s status as a fine art medium was being hotly debated.”


Carl Toth received a BA in Literature and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from The State University of New York at Buffalo. For 34 years Toth served as Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. For over four decades, he has

exhibited his work throughout the world in galleries and museums and dedicated himself to educating emerging artists. As an artist and scholar he has lectured worldwide, and his work has been included in the collections of major museums, cultural institutions and corporate collections in the United States and abroad including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York, and Australian National Gallery, Canberra. He has been the recipient of three Creative Artists Grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts as well as three Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for Arts.


The exhibit and catalog are made possible with financial support of the van Otterloo Family Foundation and Endicott College. If you have any questions regarding Carl Toth: Pioneering Artist, Photographer and Educator, or any of our programming in the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts at Endicott College, please contact Kathleen Moore, Coordinator of Visual Arts at 978-232-2655 or