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Janelle Lynch: Barcelona
Text by Roland Barthes, Charles Burchfield, Wendell Berry, Janelle Lynch.
Scouring the fallow landscape around the Llobregat river and the Rubí stream near Barcelona with her 8 x 10 camera, Janelle Lynch (born 1969) searches for evidence and omens of nature’s life cycles. Her photographs of anthropomorphized trees, walls of litter-strewn vegetation, rocks and disintegrating leaves, all taken during a four-year stay in Barcelona between 2007 and 2011, are informed by three figures whose texts are excerpted in this volume: Roland Barthes, particularly his discussion of mourning in Camera Lucida; Charles Burchfield, whose pantheistic painterly animations of landscape have much inspired Lynch; and Wendell Berry, whose essay on approaching nature with respect and humility helped to further hone her process. Barcelona is also conceived as a homage to Lynch’s grandmother, who died in 2008, and to the victims of a devastating flood in the region that occurred in 1962.
Featured image is reproduced from Janelle Lynch: Barcelona.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Janelle Lynch has a new book, Barcelona, published by Radius Books that has managed to appear on a multitude of Top 10 book lists. The project explores her relationships with her grandmother and with the natural environment that surrounds the city of Barcelona. Janelle’s photographs are metaphors for life and death, for change and transformation, drawing influences from Roland Barthes, Charles Burchfield and Wendell Berry. Her observations of things left behind, their changing forms and transitory meanings, speaks to the cycle of life and remembrance. Photographed along the Rubí stream outside of Barcelona, Spain, she investigates a landscape ravaged by civil war for more than forty years. “While the images are related to Catalonia and its history, they also reveal the ongoing loss of respect for the life of the natural world.”
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.
Michael Abatemarco |
In her opening statement in Barcelona, she describes her photographs as elegies that take on a personal dimension because of her grandmother’s death and a greater dimension connected to the region’s history of civil war and repression under Francisco Franco. “The Catalans have a very strong sense of memory and I think a living kind of pain related to the atrocities of that war,” she said. “Franco was in power until the early ’70s. The older generation that is still alive in Catalonia surely remembers the oppression of that time. Their children and grandchildren have acquired that memory even though they didn’t live through it. There is this sense still, and it’s quite strong, of that history and the great injustice that was done. As a result, there’s an incredible sense of pride and also a fierce wish for autonomy from the rest of Spain. Even though it was long ago, it’s still quite present. Once you arrive there and establish relationships with Catalans, you learn it’s still present.”
The Buffalo News
On a series of trips to Buffalo spread over a year, photographer Janelle Lynch learned all she could about watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield. She also took her camera into Burchfield’s woods in West Seneca, setting out to create work that would mirror some of the great painter’s visual and intellectual concerns.
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FROM THE BOOK
Shortlisted for the 2013 Cord Prize
, juried by Diana Edkins and Charlotte Cotton.
USD $55.00 | CAN $72.5 UK £ 50
Pub Date: 11/30/2013
Active | In stock