Comments/Context: Monet's gardens at Giverny have become a place of pilgrimage for countless artists, and the now famous bridge, ponds, water lilies, and reflections have been reinterpreted over and over again to such an extent that it seems difficult to imagine there is much more to be said about this particular location. Elger Esser has taken on this familiar landscape subject, and turned it on its head by making long exposure photographs at night. The results are extremely dark and shadowy, bathed in a silent stillness.
In recent years, Esser has spent quite a bit of effort examining the nature of memory, especially in his heliogravures, which intentionally recall 19th century photographic landscapes in their framing and style. These new images of Givery are in many ways the exact negative of our expectations, the lively, colorful pond we all recognize turned into something dark and almost foreboding. Given the quiet and melancholy mood, I think viewer reactions to these pictures will range from underwhelmed (and potentially bored) to engrossed by a fleeting glimpse of something previously unseen.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
- Artist site (here)
536 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011