Mary Lou and Andrew Abruzzese, The Pineville Tavern.
This exhibition featured more than a dozen large-scale photographs. Although Becotte made his reputation as a traditional photographer, he has become a master of digital photography in recent years, creating images constructed from family heirlooms as well as random objects retrieved from flea markets, abandoned buildings, and dumps. Over the past ten years Becotte has collected an extensive inventory of props and environmental material. The gathering of these items is a key part of his creative process. He arranges and photographs these objects as a way of exploring his memories and fantasies of family and childhood, and delves into such issues as daydreams, gender, fear, isolation, decay, and mortality.
‘I have developed a unique field of inquiry as I am exploring my own personal history,’ said Becotte. ‘It is not a factual history-it is fiction based on fact. I’ve surrounded myself with materials that represent my thoughts and my past.’
The concept of the construction is developed as Becotte works. Additional materials are selected to either clarify his meaning or to add contradictions and layers to the relationships. The result of this process is a stage brought to life with controlled and often theatrical lighting. The construction is photographed with a large format camera, and the image is further transformed with the large format digital print. When the image is processed digitally and printed on a soft printmaking paper with an Iris printer, the character of the materials in the image is preserved and clarified.
Becotte has been a Professor of Photography at the Tyler School of Art since 1973, and is the former owner of Becotte and Gershwin Offset Lithography, one of the Philadelphia area’s best-known printing firms. His accomplishments as a photographer include National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1975 and 1981 as well as exhibitions at the Allentown Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. His work is in such distinguished collections as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.