Crowded Fields at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery

by | Mar 6, 2021 | Blog post

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is proud to present Crowded Fields, a solo exhibition of photographs by Boston-based artist Pelle Cass. This exhibition features work from two recent series in which the artist combines thousands of images to form one dynamic composition of a sporting event. Working in opposition to traditional sports photography, Pelle Cass aims to capture not the emotion of a moment, but the chaos and physicality of the entire game, evoking a Baroque-like sense of movement and angle in his compositions.

The exhibition is ongoing through March 22, 2021

“This photo is of a tennis tournament in the Futures series in the lowest levels of professional tennis. It was held in Brighton, Massachusetts on the campus of Harvard University in 2018. This picture is of a singles match and it took an hour or so to take the pictures and I made maybe two thousand exposures. The players did me the courtesy of frequently changing clothes in the course of the match, which, at first glance, makes it seem that there are a few dozen different players. 

I’m a tennis player myself–one reason I started taking pictures of sports in the first place. I’m actually not especially a sports fan. I’d never choose to watch sports on TV when I could play. Part of what I’m trying to capture is the sensation of playing sports, moving around, running, jumping, hitting a ball. Until I started this series, I didn’t really consider sports a worthy subject for art. Sure, I liked Edweard Muybridge and Doc Edgerton, for example.Their work was as much science as art and could be experienced in a complex way. But, for me, sports photos conjured Sports Illustrated and the paintings of Leroy Nieman as examples of what I wanted to avoid: images of struggle, climactic action, personality, historic moments in sport, the big story, the big game. I want my work to be like Muybridge or Edgerton’s–showing a new world previously invisible to the eye, visible only with a camera. “

Pelle Cass