About the Photographer
American, b. 1940
Leland Rice has been an active photographer, writer, curator and educator for over thirty years. After graduating with an MA from California State University in 1969, Rice began a series of portraits which in turn led him to make visually spare photographs of chairs, suggesting the presence of the human body without showing the actual figure. In 1973, he began the series Wall Sites, photographing the walls of his studio. Capturing material traces of art-making processes, such as the marks left on the wall or the simple arrangements of functional objects, Rice uses minimal compositions to reflect on how things change in appearance over time and to scrutinize the play of light in these settings. In the respective works, Rice also varies his distance from what he is photographing, creating different degrees of abstraction and a changing sense of depth. At times he assumes a more distant vantage point so that the picture evidently depicts a studio, while in other cases he moves in closer to the wall, framing the image tightly so that it becomes more difficult to determine what one is looking at.
Rice was born in Los Angeles and studied at Arizona State University and California State University. He began a career as a teacher shortly after he finished graduate school, establishing the photography department at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Since then he has taught at Pomona College in Claremont, California; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. As a curator Rice has organized major museum exhibitions of photographs by Lázsló Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Frederick Sommer and other artists.