This exhibition features recent work by Elizabeth Lennard presented on both floors of the gallery. As a painter-photographer or photographer-painter, Lennard has been placing photographic techniques at the service of a visual arts aesthetic since the 1970s. Working with video and theater as well, she plays on interactions with these media in both the enlarged, painted contact sheets of her photographs and her theater adaptations combining live actors and video projections.
Like the writer Gertrude Stein, Lennard is an American living in France. In 1996, she discovered an echo of her own work in a variety of short plays by Stein that use a Cubist style to experiment with a total, fragmentary vision of the world. After A List, Lennard has drawn on Stein’s Objects Lie on a Table for both a series of photos and theater adaptation.
The photographic version of Objects Lie on a Table is an unlikely inventory of our daily life made up of vegetables, fruits, flowers, cooking implements, and plastic animals on a checkered tablecloth, where the childish, playful impression is reinforced by the bright color accents. This luminous cheerfulness is also found in the Jardins botaniques series, which the globe-trotting artist has been photographing throughout the world over the past ten years: cactus from California, Lisbon’s romantic gardens, Goethe’s Palm in Padua. Each sheet offers us a hidden treasure: exotic plants from supposedly sensitive climates, desert flowers or Baroque fountains covered with foliage.
This series recalls the sketchbooks of those other enlightened travelers of the eighteenth century who let their minds wander in the Boboli Gardens. Lennard takes her time to us, the hurried travelers of today; she photographs and heightens our gaze with color, paints and unpaints to revitalize our perception. In a world that is addicted to the image, she reinterprets the photo’s obligatory freeze frame and gives us a kind of poetic snapshot enhanced by a truly contemporary aesthetic.
In conjunction with this exhibit, Editions Filigranes is preparing a publication on the artist’s work.