From:Nathan Lyons Research Center, Visual Studies Workshop
Name/TitleUntitled, [large group portrait]
About this objectDepicted in the image is a large group of people posing by an American flag, for a portrait.
Alice Wells (1927-1987) was born in 1927 in Pennsylvania, and studied at Pennsylvania State University and Rochester Institute of Technology. Her interest in photography began in 1959 and in 1961 she attended an Ansel Adams’ workshop, followed by several Nathan Lyons’ workshops in 1961-62 and 1965- 66. Alice Wells (then Andrews) began her career at the George Eastman House (1962-69) as a secretary and later held the position of Assistant Curator of Extension Activities. After leaving the Eastman House she became the Assistant to the Director at the Visual Studies Workshop (1969-72).
Wells’ work appeared at the Festival of Contemporary Arts 1965 (as Alice Andrews) along with six other artists, Ruth Barnhard, Paul Caponigro, Immogen Cunningham, Jerry Uelsman, and Minor White. From 1962 to 1975 her work appeared in over 35 group exhibitions, and she had 6 one-person shows, (one of which, Found Moments Transformed, traveled the United States, Canada, and Italy). In the Found Moments Transformed Series Wells repaired and printed old photographic plates she found at an auction, often creating unique images by solarizing the prints. Her work appeared in exhibition catalogs, in the periodical press and in portfolios. Wells earned recognition and advancement through grants she received, such as New York States earliest Creative Artists Public Service grants and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Wells became a student of Zen Buddhism in 1967 and withdrew from the photographic world in the 1970s—moving to New Mexico and relative anonymity. Wells credited Visual Studies Workshop founder Nathan Lyons with her growth as a photographer, stating that, “Nathan Lyons taught her how to translate the life process, to approach the place within herself, and use the camera as a direct means of self-quest, self-inquiry, and expressing a specific point in her life.”
Visual Studies Workshop holds 850 photographs by Alice Wells, 35 mm negatives, contact sheets, and correspondence.
Portfolio Titlefrom the series Found Moments Transformed
Date Madeca. 1970
Medium and Materialsgelatin silver print from a glass plate negative
Inscription and Marksrecto: [pencil] Alisa Wellsverso: [printed label] Photographic Studies Workshop PRINT SALE ALICE WELLS 45verso: [pencil] From the Sequence, “Found Moments Transformed” verso: [pencil] Alice Wells verso: [printed label] ARTIST: Alisa Wells Witteman TITLE: From Sequence “Found Moments Transformed” MEDIUM: Photograph PRICE: 35.00 STABLES GALLERY of the Tao Art Assn. Box 193, Taos, N. M. 87571 verso: [pencil] sm.9verso: [pencil] Alice Wells verso: [pencil] .W453verso: [pencil] 88:004:3
Measurementsimage: 13.2 cm x 18.2 cm
overall: 36.3 cm x 30.3 cm
Subject and Association Keywords20th Century Photography
Subject and Association KeywordsAlice Wells
Subject and Association KeywordsVisual Studies Workshop
Subject and Association KeywordsRochester, NY
Subject and Association KeywordsNathan Lyons
Subject and Association KeywordsGeorge Eastman House
Subject and Association Keywordsgelatin silver
Subject and Association Keywordsglass plate negative
CollectionCollection of Visual Studies Workshop
Credit Linegift of artist