Melanie Flood Projects, solo exhibition, 2021
June 5 - July 3, 2021
Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present sipping air, a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Rachelle Bussières and is on view June 5-July 3, 2021. A text by Rel Robinson was commissioned to accompany the exhibition. Join us for an artist reception from 1-3pm on Saturday June 5.
In the darkroom, photographers are trained to filter the world into a codified spectrum of greys. Light is allocated with precision, and deviating from this code means untethering an image from its place in a more common reality.
In the interplay of time and light that is the production of a photographic print, one might ask where if not when does the image happen? While an instance of light may be captured within the four edges of a print and the authority of a frame, light is infinite by nature. Sight is simply a negotiation between shadow and reflection. Light rebounds through matter. It is never still, it doesn’t age. We, in contrast, are finite and the photograph offers a remedy for our deeply human susceptibility to time. But light is fickle, the camera is just an instrument, and seeing is just our best guess.
Rachelle Bussières makes photographs without a camera or a negative, exposing silver gelatin paper directly to light; revealing a surprisingly pastel palette. The images in these lumen prints are colored by unfettered access to the sky, the wattage of an incandescent bulb, the brightness of the day, and the clouds in the sky outside her New York City studio. Each print is a record of its most essential truth, a unique impression of its own place in time and space, of the light outside. From dusky tones to the color of the sun seen from behind closed eyes, her images present hues the way a magnolia tree blooms, all at once—making evident the withheld promise hidden in plain sight.
This body of work is more akin to memory than artifact, something flickering in the periphery of vision, or as a specter of a place without a name. Text by Rel Robinson
On Colored Shadows
Rubber Factory, three-person exhibition
July 19 - July 25, 2021
Rubber Factory is pleased to present a group show titled, "On Colored Shadows" with Suzanna Zak, Myeongsoo Kim and Rachelle Bussières.
The show derives its title from an essay the poet Goethe wrote as part of his “Theory of Colours”. He advocates for an experiential study of color resisting Newton’s more empirical, scientific approach. Eschewing the study of wavelengths and particles, Goethe outlines a vague schematic whereby he sought to allow color and light to be experienced by the readers themselves in a wide ranging set of experiments. Through his observations, Goethe created a personal language around seeing that presents itself as a resistance against the more detached, scientific imaginary.The experience, the phenomena is the theory.
In On Colored Shadows the exhibition, the three artists break away from the index of the photograph and channel their own experience of the land, the cosmos and the air in their own perceptive language. Without resorting to explanation, the works reveal the artists’ hands and their unique modes of making.
Myeongsoo Kim returns over and over to his personal archive of images, traveling beyond his studio to pore over the minutiae of the landscapes. In his reinvention of these memories, there is a compression of time and mass into crepe-like layers of photographic materials. The works are desirable because they take the punctum inducing detail from every frame and pushes them into proximity on the visual plane. They become new relations, new realities, new painterly forms made of barren sand or starry skies. Some of his works have a physical index to the land, a coin he collected or a branch he brought home. These emerge perched on his photographs, like gnomic forms recalled from the depths of Myeong’s own memory.
Suzanna encases her works in glass, the greens, blues, reds refract the light around them. The works feel like mystic runes, buried treasure or simply the home-made intonations of an artist obsessed with the earth. The pieces shimmer in and out of opacity. Rambling words etched on the papery side of a living tree translated through a ruby red lens feels like a fever dream during witching hour. Her works have a hard fought grit. The perfect form of a photography is often impaled with gestures eroding their surface or obscuring their index. An avid hiker and rock climber, one can imagine Suzanna bounding along on one of her hikes. Stopping only to collect a memento from the land she traverses, a memento she puts into her diary of photographs. An archive that will continue to accumulate meaning, becoming paradoxically unencumbered as the meaning of it crystallizes for her.
Air, light, sun define Rachelle’s practice. She is an alchemist who lets her materials coalesce. The work looks and feels calligraphic at times, with sharp lines punctuated by softer areas flush with magenta, orange, pinks and baby blues. With a background in anthropology, it is tempting to read the works as map-like. The language of the land encoded as a literal script perhaps. But Rachelle’s practice is one much more contingent on the uncertainties of the lumen process. A sensitivity is required to patiently wait for compositions to emerge and to observe subtle changes through the days, weeks or months. With her studio as the site, Rachelle marks the quantum changes in her environment. Starting and stopping become ways of mark-making on the lumen paper as she uses a variety of sculptural tools to reflect and deflect light onto her surfaces. In the show, all of Rachelle’s pieces have an autonomy that belies their photographic genesis. Fixed and unfixed twins of an index are side by side, scanned version of a work are enlarged to reveal details. They are extensions and reproductions of the studio as site, becoming replicants that refuse to be stilled.
Johansson Projects, group exhibition for 8-bridges and SF Artsweek preview
Opens: Sat, Jan 23 with staggered entry 12-5PM
Paper Orbs (by day and night), 2021, exposures on stacked two gelatin silver papers, 20 x 48 inches
Featuring: Miguel Arzabe | Rachelle Bussières | Craig Dorety | Matthew F Fisher | Alexander Kori Girard | Kristina Lewis | Blaise Rosenthal
At a time when it feels like the light is finally breaking through the darkness, Community Garden — a group exhibition of seven artists — cultivates an abundance of connections. Using a variety of methods, the artists achieve a naturalism that aesthetically binds their work together into a single gesture, allowing us glimpses and sensations of the open spaces where we once walked freely, and will soon return.
Waves, 2021, exposures on gelatin silver paper, 40 x 90 inches
Across (5 days 1.5 hours), 2021, exposures on gelatin silver paper, 24 x 40 inches