May 18 – June 29, 2024

A professional archivist is tasked with assessing materials of value, preserving them to the best of their ability with the technology available, and maintaining these collections so that the information can have an enduring impact on the communities and institutions that enshrine them. Franz Jantzen understands the responsibility implicitly, both professionally and in his artistic practice.

The exhibition of digital photography in FRANZ JANTZEN employs a systematic documentation process of image making that the artist has honed over decades. Countless hours are spent layering individual images, stratifying visual information while the artist improvises and arranges, altering the compositions and their colors to reflect deeper meanings. In some cases, the connotations are deeply personal; Jantzen’s newest body of work, The Great Trek Series, imagines a journey the artist’s ancestors took through foreign lands as compositions of paving stones in the open forum at Pompeii are intricately rendered. The artist explains,

In 1880 a small group of pacifist Mennonites followed a doomsday prophet from Russia across the desert to what is now Uzbekistan, where God was to arrive in March 1889. My dad’s family was on this pilgrimage, though they left before the group reached their final destination. Along the way they received the kindness of strangers, and also suffered greatly. My series is about six geographic locations on that journey, in the order in which they appeared on the journey.

Exploring further into the images, locations, and references that Franz Jantzen utilizes in his compositions, a greater appreciation for the sum of these elements is achieved. By showing works with slight variations, the artist seeks to inspire in his audience the same sense of wonderment and careful attention that Jantzen sees in the source material. Encouraging a similar reverence for past, present, and future learning, perhaps even, a greater understanding of the world around us.