"Janelle Lynch's book is brave and true. But hold on to your heart - its quiet passion
sneaks up and steals your soul." -- Tony Bannon, Burchfield Penney Art Center
RADIUS BOOKS / NOVEMBER 2013
BARCELONA NAMED A FINALIST FOR THE CORD PRIZE 2013
JURIED BY CHARLOTTE COTTON AND DIANA EDKINS
|"The photographs in this book are visual elegies to Nana, my grandmother ... I made them during the four years I lived in Spain between 2007 and 2011. The Llobregat, Fig Trees, Portraits, Walls, and Ground depict the landscape outside of Barcelona ... My experience losing Nana, the woman who raised me, led me to explore this emotional terrain. I also absorbed a larger sense of human loss in this place through its history of Civil War, which decimated life and repressed Catalan identity for more than forty years." -- Janelle Lynch
While living in Spain from 2007-2011, following the death of her beloved grandmother, photographic artist and writer Janelle Lynch was viscerally drawn to explore the fallow, neglected landscape outside of the city of Barcelona. With her 8x10 Deardorff camera and a portrait lens, she spent four years photographing along the banks of the historic Llobregat river that has supported agrarian and industrial development in this region of Catalonia for nearly 200 years. The work Lynch made on this emotional and spiritual journey, as she mourned the loss of her grandmother, reveals traces and markers of existence, past and present -- pylons, puddles, leaves, and litter -- that serve as metaphors for absence and presence, mourning and remembrance.
Five series of these images, described by LensCulture as "exquisite" and "fascinating," are gathered together for the first time in Barcelona (Radius Books, November 2103) which was recently named a finalist for The Cord Prize 2013, an international contemporary art award juried by Charlotte Cotton and Diana Edkins.
Lynch's painterly, meticulously composed photographs depict a terrain that is unpeopled, yet layered, with palpable suggestions of life clinging to the riverbanks and wrapped around the vegetation. The work evokes the artist's personal memories about the presence that remains after loss, as well as what she intuits happened to a people that endured a protracted and brutal war, floods, among other hardships. The book includes the artist's first black-and-white series that depicts the wild fig trees prevalent along the outskirts of the city of Barcelona, and that date back to 5000 BC. Her photographs of dried leaves on bare branches represent both unity and loss.
Lynch writes, "Barcelona extends my long-term interest in representations of the life cycle in the landscape, to an inquiry about what remains after absence and loss, what persists in being, what intangible presence continues despite a physical absence?"
Interwoven throughout this exquisitely designed monograph are the artist's poetic writings in English and Spanish. The book begins with "The Window"/"La Ventana," a short memoir about how Lynch, as a child, learned from her grandmother to observe and appreciate nature. Text written by Lynch precedes each series of photographs and offers insight into the artist's subject matter and influences. The book includes notes about mourning by philosopher Roland Barthes who informed Lynch's new conceptual investigation. In other writings,Lynch acknowledges the work of artist Charles Burchfield, whose tendency to animate the landscape in his paintings inspired her vision, and writer Wendell Berry, whose approach to the natural world with respect and humility, transformed her process.
Barcelona was designed by award-winning designer and publisher of Radius Books David Chickey. With Barcelona, Chickey has transformed the photo book into an "objet d'art" that gives prominence to the artist's images while reinforcing their raw spareness.
Barcelona follows the artist's first monograph, Los Jardines de México (Radius Books, 2011)that was named to PDN's Notable Books of 2011 list. Mark Feeney, art critic at the Boston Globe, reviewed an accompanying exhibition of the work at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. He wrote: "Lynch clearly delights in defeating expectations ... The images are delicate, precise, and rather enchanting."
Photographs from Los Jardines de México are currently on view at Robert Morat Galerie in Berlin, Germany, while Lynch's River series, photographs of Hudson River waterscapes, are on view at the Newark Museum in Newark, N.J.
Barcelona Book Details:
12.75 x 10 inches
39 color and 11 duotone illustrations
Janelle Lynch will be giving presentations and signing books at:
D.A.P./Signatures Paris Photo LA
Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles, Calif.
April 26-28, 2014
About Janelle Lynch
Janelle Lynch is a large-format (8x10) photographic artist and writer based in New York City whose work has been widely exhibited and published. She teaches at the International Center of Photography and is the 2013 Artist-in-Residence at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York.
Lynch's River photographs are currently on view in the Major Contemporary Galleries of the Newark Museum in Newark, N.J., which acquired the complete series in 2010. River is also on view now with her Los Jardines de México series at Robert Morat Galerie in Berlin, Germany. Her work is in several international private and public collections, including George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y.; New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California; Fundación AMYC, Madrid, Spain; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Salta, Argentina.
Lynch received her MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and among her many honors are three grants from Kodak. She writes about photography for photo-eye, The Photo Review, Loupe, and Afterimage and was a 2012-2013 Fellow at The Writers' Institute, CUNY Graduate Center.
About Radius Books
Radius Books is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007, whose mission is to encourage, promote, and publish books of artistic and cultural value. Books give an accessible form to rich and complex creative visions. They become the vehicles for beauty, reflection, and change. In this spirit, Radius Books donates copies of every title we publish to libraries and schools, with the hope and expectation that these books will reach and inspire new and expanding audiences.