ABOUT THE BOOK
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 I, 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 II, 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 III, 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.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tanya Marcuse began making photographs as a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She went on to study Art History and Studio Art at Oberlin College and earned her MFA from Yale. After Oberlin, she lived in the rainforest with a group of indigenous people, on a year-long Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, photographing and writing. Her photographs are in many collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the George Eastman House. In 2002, she received a Guggenheim fellowship to pursue her project Undergarments and Armor. In 2005, she embarked on a three part, 14-year project, Fruitless | Fallen | Woven. Marcuse is a student of martial arts and boxing as a method of cultivating mental and physical concentration and discipline. Her work is represented by Julie Saul Gallery in New York City, and her previous books include Undergarments and Armor (Nazraeli Press, 2005), Wax Bodies (Nazraeli Press, 2012). Marcuse is Artist in Resident at Bard College, where she teaches photography.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francine Prose is the author of sixteen books of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. A former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Francine Prose lives in New York City.