Current Press & Events

Laurie Tennent & Lisa Waud in Conversation with Dick Goody & Catalogue Launch, Sunday, February 12 at 2PM

Hiberna Flores featuring Laurie Tennent and Lisa Waud

“A rose is a rose is a rose…” Gertrude Stein’s semiotic-inflected phrase beautifully extrapolates on the fact that a flower is an indivisible aesthetic cul-de-sac, a fundamental adorable form. In winter, this intimates that the next best thing to a living rose is a picture of one.

This exhibition embodies the idea of creating an overarching environment or an inclusive artistic synthesis through the work of artists Laurie Tennant and Lisa Waud.

Using flowers as object and imitation, signified and signifier, life and art, the gallery becomes a place to contemplate the living and the dead and the interplay between the joy of existence and the grief of memorialization, which is in essence at the core of our preoccupation with the meaning of a photograph of the living, to inevitably become a remembrance of the once alive.

detroitartreview: Laurie Tennent @ Oakland University Art Gallery

Laurie Tennent @ Oakland University Art Gallery
January 11, 2017 by Ron Scott
giant fern I II III

Laurie Tennent, Giant Fern, 30 x 135″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2016

One of the oldest surviving photographic images, a daguerreotype still life from 1839, carefully depicts objects made of plaster cast sculptures and a wicker-wrapped bottle. In that same year, William Henry Talbot created a photo image of a leaf, Leaf with Serrated Edge, by placing a plant leaf on a piece of light-sensitive paper before exposing it to a light source. Later, that same year, the Magazine of Science published photograms from work by Anna Atkins that were botanicals placed directly on photosensitive paper.
Science Magazine

Magazine of Science, School of Art, William Talbot samples, London, 1839
Blue photogram

Anna Atkins, Poppy, Cyanotype, Vitoria & Albert Museum, London, 1839

From those beginnings through the following 160 years we have seen photography develop in myriad ways, which brings me to the current exhibition of photography at Oakland University Art Gallery, Hiberna Flores, by Laurie Tennent. The Birmingham, Michigan-based commercial photographer has worked hard to produce a body of work comprised of botanically-based images. These relatively large-scale photographs (40 X 72”) are digital images printed on aluminum. One assumes they are real plant objects set up in a studio and captured with a large format camera that sits on a tripod, providing the artist maximum control over focus and exposure.

She says in her interview, “Complexity of character, masculine and feminine, intimate yet bold, sensual yet strong: My photographs are an exploration of these dualities. By exaggerating the inner architecture of plant life, I offer the viewer a chance to at once become confronted by and immersed in nature.”
oriental poppy

Laurie Tennent, Oriental Poppy, 36 x 70″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2014

While many photographers are shooting events, people, fashion, cars, wars and outer space, there are photographers who have devoted parts of their careers to capturing flowers. In the late 1980s Robert Mapplethorpe devoted part of his oeuvre to capturing botanicals in both black and white and color. They often get overlooked in his total body of work because of his focus on the fetish, but they stand out elegantly in composition and scale. Around that same time, in the mid-1980s, Bulfinch Publishing released Harold Feinstein’s book, 100 Flowers. Feinstein was the first to use a scanner as his camera. His work was covered by Life magazine and received a Smithsonian Award for digital photography in 2000.

But Tennent brings her signature to her work primarily in her selection of plants and her approach to the composition. The image, Oriental Poppy (36 X 70”, 2014) produces a feeling similar to Grande Odalisque, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the French Neoclassical painter, 1819. Soft light stretched out on this horizontal botanical composition against a black background creates a similar feeling in the experience of the viewer: How beautiful!

For this review, I asked Tennent a few questions:

Ron Scott – How did you get interested in photography, early on?

Laurie Tennent – My interest in photography started in high school with a love of science and biology. After an introduction to College for Creative Studies, I decided to pursue photography. It was the darkroom that really amazed me.

RS – What lead you to fine art photography?

LT – Having an education in both fine art and commercial photography, I have practiced both for over 30 years. After college, I worked in the gallery business first at the Rubiner Gallery then opened The Eton Street Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. To support the gallery, I worked in the fashion and commercial photography business.

RS – How would you describe the technical approach in capturing and printing these images (what degree of post production in the work is done)?

LT – All of the images are created in the studio. Plants and botanical specimens are photographed with digital capture and then dust and pollen are removed in post. They are printed on aluminum with a heat transfer process called dye sublimation. I only print a limited edition of 5 to 10 prints of each image.

RS – What photographers (past and present) influenced your work?

LT – Locally, my mentors are Balthazar Korab and Bill Rauhauser. Korab made a huge impression on me with his work ethic and ability to blur the lines between fine art and commercial images. Rauhauser was my professor and thesis advisor at Center for Creative Studies. His knowledge of history and passion for photography is infectious. In addition, I was also influenced by the work of Imogen Cunningham for the pattern and detail in her photographs and the sculptural scientific images of organic structures by Karl Blossfeldt .
Kalanchoe

Laurie Tennent, Kalanchoe, 40 x 60″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2016

With an acute sensitivity to today’s persistent digital noise, Tennent’s collection of intimate portraits commands attention by returning us to our most primitive and organic roots. Isolating delicate living structures and amplifying them on a massive scale transports the viewer to a serene space where we are encouraged to breathe and to reconnect with the simple beauty of these objects.
ranunculus

Laurie Tennent, Ranunculus, 48 x 69, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2013

Click here to read the full article.

January 5, 2017

Laurie Tennent talks about her work in Hiberna Flores on Fox 2 News

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-10-14-20-am

Click here to read the full article.

January 2, 2017

Hiberna Flores Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 6-8PM

“A rose is a rose is a rose…” Gertrude Stein’s semiotic-inflected phrase beautifully extrapolates on the fact that a flower is an indivisible aesthetic cul-de-sac, a fundamental adorable form. In winter, this intimates that the next best thing to a living rose is a picture of one.

This exhibition embodies the idea of creating an overarching environment or an inclusive artistic synthesis through the work of artists Laurie Tennent and Lisa Waud.

Using flowers as object and imitation, signified and signifier, life and art, the gallery becomes a place to contemplate the living and the dead and the interplay between the joy of existence and the grief of memorialization, which is in essence at the core of our preoccupation with the meaning of a photograph of the living, to inevitably become a remembrance of the once alive.

LAURIE TENNENT
Laurie Tennent is an American photographer known for her distinctive, dramatic botanical images. Tennent is represented by galleries internationally and her work is part of many public and private collections including, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Kresge Art Foundation, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, The Gap/Doris Fisher Collection, The Chicago Botanic Garden, The Mira Goddard Center for Photography at Ryerson University in Toronto and Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

LISA WAUD
Based in Detroit, Michigan, Lisa Waud is the founder and owner of Pot & Box, a floral design and horticultural decor studio. Pot & Box will celebrate its 10th anniversary in February 2017 and has become a well-known and sought-after design studio for floral event decor and botanical installations in the Detroit area. Learn more about Pot & Box at potandbox.com.

Waud is also the creator and producer of Flower House, a contemporary floral installation that took place October 15 – 17, 2015 filling an abandoned Detroit house with American-grown fresh flowers and living plants. The project brought together 37 designers, more than 100 volunteers, and 3,400 visitors for its three-day exhibition. The event received international media attention, including the New York Times and Vogue Portugal. Learn more about flower house online at the flower.house.

Detroit Flower Week, a Flower House-inspired design conference, was founded and produced by Waud. The event took place during the one-year anniversary of the installation and presented more than 30 lectures and workshops about floral design and botanical inspiration. The gathering culminated with a dinner for more than 175 guests in the Detroit Public Library set under a glorious 2500-square-foot floral canopy. Learn more about Detroit Flower Week online at detroitflowerweek.info.

tennent3

Click here to view the press release from the event.

Oakland University Art Gallery | 208 Wilson Hall | Rochester, MI 48309 | copyright 2017