A pioneer in the field of fine-art photography, Jeffery Becton creates provocative montages, often playing with the borders between dream and reality, interior and exterior, abstraction and representation. As art critic Philip Isaacson observed, Becton’s images “begin with photography, sometimes add painting or watercolor, and metamorphose into a medium of their own.”
Author Carl Little offers a compelling account of Becton’s progress as an artist, from his studies in graphic design and photography at Yale in the 1970s to the creation of his signature digital montages over the past twenty-five years. He explores Becton’s fascination with vintage New England houses and their furnishings, and how the artist draws upon his surroundings on the coast of Maine and elsewhere to create surreal scenarios that hark back to René Magritte, as well as Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.
Appreciations by art writer and novelist Deborah Weisgall; Dan Mills, director of the Bates College Museum of Art; and art critic Peter Plagens help complete this portrait of a master of photo-based art. Published by Marshall Wilkes, the book features 68 reproductions of Becton’s work—montages that invite you to explore his enigmatic world in The Farthest House.
[Becton’s images] subvert perception by drawing us into an out-of-the-ordinary universe that paradoxically makes perfect sense. We may be disconcerted by the flooded floor of an adjoining room, but we enter it nonetheless. —Carl Little
Becton’s images are amalgamations, inversions of interior and exterior; they are places where disparate elements such as crustaceous marine life, thickly painted brushstrokes, and cirrus wisps and mackerel skies exist inside, outside, above, and below. How is it that these often haunting images possess an underlying calm, and seem to make sense? —Dan Mills, director of the Bates College Museum of Art
Becton’s works are meditations on ambivalence: digital montages, beautiful and unsettling mashups, altered realities. . . .Walls, floors, and ceilings open to the elements—and to the imagination. They provide a framework but no shelter; they are lit with the clarity of memory. What we see depends on what we bring to the act of seeing: what memories, what desires, what emotions. Becton is really exploring our own permeability. —Deborah Weisgall
Jeffery Becton is a major artist. Relying on a traditional and exquisite sense of craft in the relatively untraditional medium of digital photography, his vision subtly opens us up to a new and different experience—one where the real and the beautifully imagined merge into one. —Peter Plagens