June 8, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Project Gallery Eastman Museum 900 East Avenue
Tanya Marcuse’s latest series of photographs, Woven, expands on her long fascination with cycles of growth and decay in the natural world. Her work features flora and fauna gathered from her immediate surroundings and composed into striking arrangements that suggest the abstract, large-scale paintings of Jackson Pollock with the symbolism of medieval tapestries. Woven presents an enlarged view of the world she constructed in a previous project, Fallen—a space teeming with overripe fruit, insect carcasses, bright blooms, living creatures, and other Boschian delights (and terrors). The Woven photographs are each five feet high and ten feet wide, and their intensely compacted array of plant, animal, and mineral minutiae create visually rich all-over compositions.
Each image begins with the artist collecting and arranging on a custom-built structure she designed for the purpose of creating these photographs. Her process is painstaking; in the time it takes to make each photograph, the set becomes a kind of garden or living diorama, changing color and form. The final works provide generous opportunities for up-close visual discovery, while from a distance they emit a powerful, immersive presence. At once bold and delicate, fantastical and believable, these photographs invite the viewer to ponder life and death as intricately interwoven phenomena.
September 23-November 18 2017
Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22nd St.
New York, NY
The Julie Saul Gallery will feature the first exhibition of Marcuse's newest body of work, Woven, this upcoming fall. The 5 x 10 foot photographs sometimes takes weeks to compose, and during the process of composition, Marcuse considers each object both allegorically and aesthetically, using mice to represent evil, for example, but pokeweed juice to enrich the color palette. Though all made using the same process, each photograph incorporates a distinct set of conceptual and visual ideas. Some are densely packed with rotting plant and animal life, and others more open, sprinkled with small, brightly colored flowers or verdant moss.
What is common to all, however, is a sense of opulence which verges on excess, a plenty which verges on plunder. In these elaborately artificial tableaux, the inexorable movements of nature are shown. Growth and decay, beauty and terror, life and death are woven together.
Phantom Bodies brings together two seminal projects, Undergarments and Armor and Wax Bodies. Both probe unsettling tensions between absence and presence, body and image, past and present. Undergarments and Armor draws together opposing categories – underwear/armor, male/female, hard/soft, armed/disarmed. Wax Bodies present haunting images of 18th century wax anatomical models found in museum collections.
This exhibition was co-curated by Esther Massry Gallery director Jeanne Flanagan and Lucy Bowditch, PH.D.
Woven: In Process
September - November 20th, 2016
Weiss Atrium and LUMA Lobby,
Richard B. Fisher Center
Woven: In Process is composed of the studio prints from Marcuse's latest body of work.
Through September 11, 2016.
Francis Lehman Loeb Art Center
This exhibition featured seven works by photographer Tanya Marcuse including three new acquisitions. It was the first exhibition to showcase three recent bodies of work all taken in the Hudson Valley; Fruitless, black-and-white images of fruit trees captured in different seasons; Fallen, vividly colored images of fallen fruit among carefully arranged plant materials in various states of decay; and Woven, Marcuse’s newest series of large-scale color images of densely packed detritus from the natural world. For Fruitless, Marcuse traveled throughout the region seeking orchards that are in danger of vanishing as the area becomes more developed—many of those she photographed no longer exist. The resulting images depict single trees in the stark landscape bringing attention to both their grandeur and their vulnerability at once. The artist’s more recent works are created in her back yard where she spends days, sometimes weeks, collecting and arranging fruit, plants, insects, animal carcasses, and other materials to create tapestry-like patterns revealing the lush colors and textures of growth, entropy, and decay. The artist states, “I try to create photographs perched between decay and new life, randomness and order, flatness and depth, the natural and the fantastical.”
In the Garden
May 9, 2015 - September 6, 2015
The Special Exhibition Galleries
at the George Eastman House
Since its invention in the nineteenth century, photography has been used to document plant life and humans’ relationship to nature. Early photographic processes required vast amounts of light during exposure, and subjects were often posed in gardens flooded with sunlight. Both scientists and artists have recorded the beauty of plant structures, watching fiddlehead ferns unfurl and observing flowers as they bloom and decay. For amateur photographers, a photograph could capture a prizewinning flower or the image of a loved one among the splendor of the garden.
George Eastman House holds a unique collection of photographs that explore uses of gardens and how humans cultivate the landscapes that surround them. From famous locations such as Versailles to the simplest home vegetable garden, from worlds imagined by artists to food production recorded by journalists, the subjects in this exhibition broaden our understanding of photography and how it has been used to record the cultivated landscape.
Spanning the history of photography and photographic processes (daguerreotype to inkjet prints), more than 75 photographers were represented, including Anna Atkins, Hippolyte Bayard, Southworth & Hawes, Eugene Atget, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore, Emmet Gowin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Barbara Norfleet, Mark Klett, Ablardo Morell, Andrew Buurman, Tanya Marcuse, Sharon Core, Ori Gersht, Rachel Sussman, and Brad Temkin.
- From the Eastman House press release
September 29 - December 13, 2015
The Davison Art Center
“Phantom Bodies” brings together unique photographs taken in two parts, Undergarments (2002-2004) and Wax Bodies (2006-2008). This exhibit sets out to explore the idea of the absence of the human body in various forms and how different cultures and time periods had different ways of presenting the human body.
This exhibition was accompanied by an Artist's talk in the Center for the Arts Hall, as well as a later panel discussion on body, memory, and photography in Russel House.
Tanya Marcuse: Fallen
January 4 - February 22, 2014
Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22nd St.
New York, NY
Marcuse’s large-scale landscape/ground images are studies of abundance and decay, fecundity and entropy. Rendered in rich color, her tapestry-like images capture seemingly found views of the forest floor that she constructs over days and weeks using rotting fruits and leaves, along with various blossoms and insects, weaving still lives in a natural environment. Marcuse creates lavish tableaux perched between the plausible and implausible and between the painterly and the photographic. They evoke beauty and sensuality as well as the duality of life and death. Made between 2010 and 2013, the series was shot with a 4” x 5” view camera using film and printed digitally by the artist.
Reviews of the exhibition can be found here.