Joyce Tenneson's Maine: Gold Trees
"Trees thoughout history have inspired deep symbolic meaning in cultures around the world. The "tree of life" metaphor expresses the mystical concept that all forms of life are interconnected. When we stand with the trees, we feel we are part of them, and they are part of us. They give us a sense of belonging to the greater universe." Joyce Tenneson
Internationally lauded as one of the leading photographers of her generation, Joyce Tenneson’s work has been published in books and major magazines, and exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Her portraits have appeared on covers for magazines such as: Time, Life, Newsweek, Premiere, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine.
Vicki Goldberg, critic and author, writes of Tenneson: “Tenneson possesses a unique vision which makes her photographs immediately recognizable. She creates enigmatic and sensuous images that are timeless and haunting.
Tenneson is the author of sixteen books including the best seller, Wise Women, which was featured in a six-part Today Show series. She is the recipient of many awards, including Fine Art Photographer of the Year in 2005 (Lucie Awards), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Photographers of America in 2012. In a poll conducted by American Photo Magazine, readers voted Tenneson among the ten most influential women in the history of photography. In the Fall of 2014, Fotografiska Museum, in Stockholm, Sweden, mounted a large retrospective of her work which was seen by approximately 30,000 people. Tenneson’s work has been exhibited in museums around the globe and is part of many private and public collections.
In addition to her photography exhibits and books, Tenneson has taught master photography classes in the U.S. and Europe for over 40 years. Tenneson.com
Many of the images from this exhibition are from Joyce's Trees and the Alchemy of Light portfolio. Below is a link to the portfolio and her book by the same title.
http://www.blurb.com/b/3609949-trees-and-the-alchemy-of-light This book is on display in the Aperture corner at the MMPA exhibition.
Review: Art New England by Carl Little
Joyce Tenneson’s Maine: Gold Trees
Maine Museum of Photographic Arts Portland, ME
February 16-May 30, 2017
The March issue of National Geographic includes a photo essay, “The Wisdom of Trees,” featuring some of the most remarkable arboreal specimens in the world, from Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree in Lincolnshire, England, to a spectacular mango tree in Naunde, Mozambique. In the accompanying text writer Cathy Newman notes how trees “inspire us, comfort us, and remind us how life moves on.”
Joyce Tenneson would agree. Her passion for trees dates back to her first museum show, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1974, where she showed a number of tree pieces. After moving from New York City to Rockport, Maine, in 2008, she returned to that early passion, turning to trees for visual and spiritual sustenance. The 30 or so mixed media on Plexiglas works in this exhibition are drawn from her 2012 book and portfolio Trees and the Alchemy of Light. She photographed most of the trees within a ten-mile radius of her home.
Inspired by everything from Byzantine icons to Incan relics, Tenneson developed a technique to fuse gold leaf with the photographs, wishing, she has said, to transport the viewer of her tree images “to new realms.” The gold gives each piece a special aura, subtly radiant, which is heightened by the fact that many of the photographs were taken in the early morning, with mist and fog adding to the atmospherics. The overall effect is a kind of latter-day pictorialism.
Unlike the out-of-the-ordinary trees in the National Geographic feature, Tenneson’s are for the most part common place: birches, apples, evergreens. In this regard she is kin to Eliot Porter (1901-1990), another aficionado of trees. One exception is the stunning Glowing Tree, a variegated Norway maple that has as much presence as any of her ethereal portraits of people.
Tenneson, who was presented with the prestigious Maine in America Award from the Farnsworth Art Museum in 2016, teaches at the Maine Media Workshops + College (her offering this summer is “The Intimate Portrait”). Her show is the 14th offering by the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts since its establishment in 2010 and represents another feather in its cap.