Amanda Marchand: The World is Astonishing

November 14, 2020 – January 9, 2021

Traywick Contemporary is pleased to announce The World is Astonishing featuring new work by Amanda Marchand. For her third solo exhibition with the gallery, Marchand explores ideas about our changing environment through the temporality of photography’s lumen process.

Over the last four years, Marchand has been working with this unpredictable, camera-less process producing sun prints or photograms, using various black and white photo papers and exposing them to sunlight. Each particular paper brand, photo finish and paper type, combined with different exposures, produces a spectrum of colors. Because the lumen colors are fugitive, the exposed papers act as negatives which are then fixed by scanning, sometimes multiple times, although they also continue to change color and darken due to the light of the scanner.

Marchand began this work by using objects and ephemera from her studio as the tools to block light—starting with utilitarian photo boxes and envelopes; then moving to reference books and artist monographs—as she pursued a process for the work based in language and as well as in visual cues. She approached each exposure as a measure of time, a meditation; in turn, the exposed papers are then cut and re-assembled into collages of multiple panels. The fundamentals of this fugitive process are an important point of departure from the documentary qualities of camera-based photography, and mark an embrace of a materials-based approach which combines early photographic methods with new technologies.

One series within the larger body of lumen work is the source of the exhibition title: “The World is Astonishing with You in It: A 21st Century Field Guide to the Birds, Ferns and Wildflowers.” For each piece in this series, she uses a vintage Field Guide from her personal library, and each title refers to an endangered or disappearing species detailed in the guides.

In another series, “Stacks,” Marchand creates installations of lumen panels that are hanging in a stacked format, one over the other, as the piled up stacks of books actually exist in her studio. Each panel references a specific artist monograph or book that has been influential to her practice over the years. Throughout all of the lumen works, she extracts moments from nature as defined by line and shadow—horizon lines, vistas, plant and animal forms, the sun moving across the sky—to explore ideas of fleeting time and the fragility of our mortal planet.

A native of Montreal, Amanda Marchand lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001, followed by a Graduate Fellowship Residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2002. Marchand is a MacDowell Colony Fellow (Petersborough, NH) and recently completed residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, FL; the Studios at MASS MoCA; and Arteles Creative Center in Finland. Her photographs have been recognized with awards and exhibitions at institutions including San Jose Museum of Art (CA), Datz Museum of Art (Korea), Palo Alto Art Center (Palo Alto, CA), Center for Contemporary Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO). Central to her practice are limited edition artist books which are in the collections of the J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), New York Public Library (NY), Stanford University Library, (Palo Alto, CA) and the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University (New Haven, CT).

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