Fruitless | Fallen | Woven • Tanya Marcuse
Hardcover / 3 Volumes in a Slipcase / 9.75 x 12.5 inches
90 images / 216 pages
Photography by Tanya Marcuse
Essay by Francine Prose
This triptych traces the arc of Tanya Marcuse’s work from the iconic trees of Fruitless to the lush, allegorical compositions of Fallen and Woven. Fueled by the Biblical narrative of the fall from Eden, these related projects use increasingly fantastical imagery to explore cycles of growth and decay and the dynamic tension between the passage of time and the photographic medium.
Volume 1, Fruitless (2005-10), features serial photographs, both clinical and sublime in their formal simplicity, of fruit trees near Marcuse’s home in the Hudson Valley. Repeatedly photographing particular trees from the same vantage point, Marcuse catalogues their seasonal transformations. The fallen apples become more prominent as the work progresses, anticipating the still-life aspect of later projects.
In Volume 2, Fallen (2010-15), Marcuse shifts from a found to a composed world, imagining the landscape of ruin in Eden after the exile of Adam and Eve. Using fruit collected from beneath the trees of Fruitless, and freezing them to preserve the spectacle of their decay, Marcuse depicts an ordered paradise becoming wild and untended, a mixture of rot and growth where malevolent as well as beautiful creatures abound.
Volume 3, Woven (2015-), takes Fallen’s dense arrangements of flora and fauna to a newly immersive scale with 5 x 10 foot tableaux that converse with medieval millefleur tapestries and the allover canvases of Jackson Pollock in their interweaving of wildness and order, beauty and terror. These exquisitely detailed photographs, each the product of weeks of collection and composition, are perched between the plausible and implausible, evoking a Boschian world of allegory and fable.