A CURATOR’S TAKE
These works from Joyce Tenneson’s Transformations series contain a feeling of staging, as though the figures are waiting for the curtain to rise or fall. The artist celebrates the lyrical lines of the body in various poses and seeks to capture a sense of the spiritual.
— Contributed by Hilary Schroeder, curatorial assistant
A STAFF MEMBER’S TAKE
As a photography major, I’m naturally drawn to the photographic works in the Collection. I never tire of exploring three photographs from Joyce Tenneson’s Transformations series currently on view in Reverberations: Exploring Movement in the Collection.
From across the gallery, the size and color palette of the photographs first caught my eye. Tenneson shoots primarily with a 20 × 24-inch Polaroid camera, and the contrast of the lovely raw edges of the Polaroid framing the muted colors of the photograph is truly beautiful. This gives the viewer a glimpse into the photographic process, and reminds me of days spent experimenting with film, large format cameras, Polaroid transfers, and other traditional and experimental techniques.
The delicate negative space in this work has a painting-like quality with the soft texture and single vertical line of trim guiding the eye from top to bottom. At the bottom of the frame, a woman rests on the floor. It appears as if this woman could’ve been performing an ethereal ballet, twirling in the translucent fabric that blankets her. Possibly in a graceful sweep, she fell to the floor.
Her pose looks temporary, as though she’s taking a quiet moment to herself as the music plays on. We often associate the fetal position with comfort, safety, and sadness or stress, but her tranquil positioning suggests a lighter moment of pause and contemplation. The curves of the gourd in her hand mirror the curves and shape of her body, while the soft glow of the light highlights the curve of her back. I love that there is nothing particular within this frame that holds my attention, but that my eyes wander in a relaxed fashion along the lines.
This photograph leaves me wondering what the model may be thinking as she rests and what her next move may be after the moment passes. What music do you think is playing in the background? What’s her next move?
This work and two other photographs from Tenneson’s Transformations series are currently on display through January 4, 2021 in Reverberations: Exploring Movement in the Collection located in the Appleby Foundation Exhibition Hall on the first floor.
— Contributed by Stephanie Wisnet, communications manager