‘Flight of Spirit: The Photography of Anne Noggle’ exhibit opens June 24

Published 1:11 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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TRYON–The Tryon Arts & Crafts School and the Tryon Fine Arts Center are partnering to exhibit Flight of Spirit: The Photographs of Anne Noggle from June 24 to August 18. The extensive collection of photographs is curated by Martha Strawn, president of the Anne Noggle Foundation, and art historian Lili Corbus.

Anne Noggle (1922-2005) was a photographer, aviator and trailblazer. After serving as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II, she became a crop duster and stunt pilot. Noggle’s work often explored the subject of women and aging, or what she called “the saga of the fallen flesh.” Many of her photographs disrupt traditional views and clichés of aging women.

The exhibition includes two large-scale series: one featuring female pilots in the US and another featuring Soviet female pilots who served their countries during WWII. The latter series was photographed in 1990 when the pilots were much older.

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Martha Strawn, who is also a photographer and a Tryon resident, organized the exhibition. She first met Noggle while serving on the board of directors of the National Society of Photographic Education in the 1980s. Strawn and Noggle became friends, and she is now the president of the Anne Noggle Foundation.

“I particularly like the idea of all the arts programs working together when possible,” says Strawn. “The exhibition at the Light Factory was larger than one place could handle so we suggested that it be housed at TFAC and TACS at the same time, an across-Tryon exhibition.”

Lili Corbus, who also resides in Tryon and is a member of the TACS board of directors, was asked by Strawn to contribute to the exhibition. Corbus, an art historian with a specialty in the history of photography, wrote an essay analyzing Noggle’s life, work, historical context and influences.

The exhibition is being accompanied by a book, Flight of Spirit: The Photographs of Anne Noggle, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press in 2019. The book also includes essays by cultural historian Lucy Lippard and Corbus.

TACS Director Will Barclift said the exhibition is a perfect fit for the school’s new digital photography program. “It is nice that a show like this can help bring attention to Noggle’s work and TACS’ efforts to foster creative talent in our community in yet another medium,” says Barclift.

The exhibition will also be on display at the Lanier Library, which will feature Noggle’s books and other items. Her work is now found in many museum and university collections. She authored three books and earned honors such as three National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The exhibition begins June 24, 6-8 p.m., with a public reception and will continue till August 18 at the Tryon Fine Arts Center and the Tryon Arts & Crafts School. Admission is free. There will also be a Curators Dinner that will take place Thursday, June 29 and serves as a fundraiser for the new digital photography program at TACS.