Ansel Adams & Abstract Painting

Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, about 19
Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, about 1937 (© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Image courtesy of David H. Arrington)

During a visit to Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea at the National Maritime Museum, London (through April 28), Robin Greenwood finds works by Ansel Adams that present the "moment of most heightened visual intensity," also sought and prized in great painting.

Greenwood writes: "I need to look at something that is ambitiously but unambiguously spatial, and very particular about it; rather like, in fact, [some] photographs by Adams, the ones where content and form were indistinguishable. This is not an argument for figurative art; this is an argument for breaking out of the easy-going, moribund, over-composed two-dimensional space that almost all abstract painting currently lives and dies by. This is an argument for pushing deeper into abstract space, opening it out in all the complexity, particularity and exactitude of its visual relationships; like a magnificent landscape laid out to sight, unfolded and lucid."