PRINT April 1966


Textiles of Oaxaca

The two dozen photographs that accompany the Oaxaca textiles make a refreshingly competent, unpretentious display––so unpretentious, in fact, that in the gallery, the photographer-editor takes no credit for his work. The technique is cinematic. A long shot establishes the scene––ruins of pyramidal temples surrounded by pillars and courtyards. The camera zooms in to look at the pyramids and columns. The next shot, medium close-up, shows us details of carved stone in the buildings. The next is a quick cut to a closeup of a woman wearing a heavily-patterned, woven and embroidered “huipil” whose design was obviously inspired by the carvings in the stone. The camera then examines Indians carding wool, spinning, weaving at the primitive back-looms and the more sophisticated European-style horizontal looms, and embroidering the woven fabric. We learn besides where the textile-makers live, what kind of people they are, and how they look in the garments they have made. A complex story unfolds through a few photographs, well chosen and sensitively arranged. A painstaking study of the catalog reveals that the photographer-editor was Gerald Williams of the Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, N.H., a man too modest by far.

Margery Mann