Marcuse’s new 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.
Marcuse says of this new work: I picture the garden: unruly, wild: lush with rot and overabundance. The uneaten fruit of the tree lies on the ground and floats down streams. Hieronymus Bosch has been my primary inspiration for this project. His medieval way of describing may seem an unlikely guide for a photographer in 2013, yet I am riveted by the spatial and conceptual tension in his paintings between fragment and whole, weight and weightlessness, paradise and hell.
Fallen evolved from Marcuse’s series called Fruitless, which records the apple trees in the landscape around her Hudson Valley home through the cycle of the seasons. Fruitless was shot with a 4” x 5” camera but executed as small platinum prints, as was most of her previous work, including Undergarments and Armor, shown in the ICP Triennial 2010.
Marcuse earned her MFA from Yale. She has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship among other honors, and her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Yale Art Gallery. She has published three books with Nazraeli Press, Undergarments and Armor (2005), Fruitless (2007) and Wax Bodies (2012).
For further reading on the series, please see this essay by photographer and poet Tim Davis.