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Janelle Lynch in L’Oeil de la Photographie

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Janelle Lynch: Barcelona in L’Oeil de la Photographie


Barcelona is Janelle Lynch’s tribute to her two adopted mothers: her grandmother, Nana, and “Mother Nature,” whom they both admired for hours through the kitchen window. “I remember finding a robin's crackled egg on the porch steps,” says Lynch in her introduction. “I was arrested by its distinctive shade of blue. I had internalized Nana's sense of awe.”

She satisfies her admiration in several ways creating in each chapter an introspective dialogue between herself, her environment and her literary and photographic influences: Roland Barthes, Charles Burchfield and Wendell Berry.

The book’s consciously classic form takes nothing away from her naiveté—it might even add to it. The playful way in which Lynch sees nature from all angles is childlike. Characters come alive on the naked branches. The forest is inhabited by a presence. The images are startling, moving, mysterious. The neutral titles are fraught with metaphor. Each series corresponds to a distance of observation and imposes its own rhythm, that of its patient mourning, its refusal, its obsession with finding a unique pattern. The Portraits, anthropomorphic trees draped in windblown litter, follow the Walls, piles of debris wash up on the shore, and, finally, Ground, covered with decomposing nature. The presence becomes less metaphorical over the course of the books, giving way to visible traces of absence and the representation of death in a dramatic conclusion: a colorless, blossoming tree withers on the sand, followed by a blood-red puddle seeping into stone. This is the cycle of life near the Llobregat River.

Janelle Lynch
Editions Radius Books
112 pages

Book Signing with Janelle Lynch
Burchfield Penney Art Center
Friday, December 13, 2013
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, New York
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