The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce a fifteen year survey of the photographs of Andrew Bush. The survey begins with a selection from Bonnettstown Hall: An Irish Country House which was the inaugural show at the Lieberman & Saul Gallery in 1986. This three year photographic essay in large format color prints portrays a great 18th century Georgian home. The images are compelling for their combination of formal rigor, mystery and beauty. Critic Janet Malcolm wrote of them when they were published in monograph form in 1989:
“What gives the color photographs in Bonnettstown ...their special luster — is the frank avowal they make of their voyeurism...they render a striking self- portrait. ..his portraits reveal more about young classless America than about old aristocratic Europe.”
This prescient observation segues to his next major series created between 1989-91 called Vector Portraits, portraits of drivers in their cars speeding along west coast highways. He mounted his large-format camera on the passenger side of his car, and captured people in the revery of their self-contained mobile “envelopes” which transport them speedily through the landscape. Bush is also concerned with how the experience of public space by individuals has been transformed to an isolated experience by car culture. Paul Strand’s early subway portraits are the cultural ancestors of these voyeuristic meditations.
The Envelopes, which Bush has been making since the early 1990s are a departure for him into the studio. These are hyper real representations of envelopes, flap side out, usually used, recorded on a 1:1 ratio to the actual object. He has placed them in antique printing frames, thus creating a seductive still-life object, resembling the sorts of objects rendered so realistically by American painters Peto and Harnett. The frame reveals, the envelope conceals. Malcolm Daniel, Metropolitan Museum Curator wrote of them in the 1994 Recent Acquisitions Bulletin: “Bush’s understanding that- like painted portraits of one’s ancestors-envelopes, with their untold secrets, will gradually disappear is both poignant and prescient."
The Business Cards (1995-96) are a continuation of his conceptual investigations regarding self representation. He has found and selected cards with vastly different identities for the “subjects” expressed through name, profession, typography and locale. He produced these as large prints, making them appear somewhere between tombstones and billboards.
Short Snorters (1994-present) are the final series represented. In war, particularly during WWII, GI's collected and taped paper currencies together as a way of keeping track of their travels and the people they encountered. Taped end to end, these scrolls of money became known as "short snorters." These scrolls came to incorporate exotic and far flung nationalities. The term refers to a short sleep before going into battle, a brief wind, a short stay in a port, and a glass of whiskey. Like the envelopes a spirit of nostalgia surrounds the imagery, arcane images of long forgotten countries, or the French Franc which proclaims "Kilroy was here!" The currency is represented in large scale prints in a shallow space- the waving rectangles of currency mimicking the banners of flags.
Bush's work is represented in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
This is our fifth solo exhibition of Bush's work, and the first survey organized.
For further information and press prints, please call the gallery.