ROSAMOND PURCELL  Prevost's volute (Fulgoraria prevostiana) 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Prevost's volute (Fulgoraria prevostiana) 2012

Cover from A Glorious Enterprise

20.5" x 25.5"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Reddish Egret egg collected by John James Audubon in Florida 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Reddish Egret egg collected by John James Audubon in Florida 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

26.5" x 18"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Gorilla skulls collected on the Vanderbilt Expedition to West Africa in 1934-35 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Gorilla skulls collected on the Vanderbilt Expedition to West Africa in 1934-35 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

20" x 24.5"

ROSAMUND PURCELL  Leg Bones from the Moa of New Zealand 2012

ROSAMUND PURCELL

Leg Bones from the Moa of New Zealand 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

26.25" x 18"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  The Great Egret (Ardea Alba) 2008

ROSAMOND PURCELL

The Great Egret (Ardea Alba) 2008

From A Glorious Enterprise

25.5" x 32"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Wolf skull (Canis lupus, syntype of Canis gigas) 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Wolf skull (Canis lupus, syntype of Canis gigas) 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

18.25" x 28.25"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Coconut crabs (Birgus latro) 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Coconut crabs (Birgus latro) 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

20.25" x 25.5"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Mounted bird skeleton, Duc de Rivoli collection. Given by T.B. Wilson in 1846 2012

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Mounted bird skeleton, Duc de Rivoli collection. Given by T.B. Wilson in 1846 2012

From A Glorious Enterprise

26.25" x 19.25"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira), eggs 2008

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira), eggs 2008

From Egg & Nest

18" x 24"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Study skins of Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius), with feathers and colors intact 2008

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Study skins of Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius), with feathers and colors intact 2008

From Egg & Nest

14" x 18"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), nest 2008

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), nest 2008

From Egg & Nest

15" x 20"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Leaves, box of pages 1989

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Leaves, box of pages 1989

From Bookworm

24.5" x 18"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Accretion (object lost) 1998

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Accretion (object lost) 1998

From Bookworm

19.5" x 24"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Book/nest, found object 1990s

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Book/nest, found object 1990s

From Bookworm

15.5" x 20"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Moths and music, collage 1989

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Moths and music, collage 1989

From Bookworm

20.5" x 15.5"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  The Field of Cloth Gold 2011

ROSAMOND PURCELL

The Field of Cloth Gold 2011 

From Landscapes of the Passing Strange

18.5" x 31"

 

ROSAMOND PURCELL  The Wars to Come 2011

ROSAMOND PURCELL

The Wars to Come 2011

From Landscapes of the Passing Strange

16.5" x 21.25"

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Norfolk Island Kereru Leiden

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Norfolk Island Kereru Leiden 1999

From Swift As A Shadow

25.5" x 35"

 

ROSAMOND PURCELL  Trunkfish 1992

ROSAMOND PURCELL

Trunkfish 1992

From Finder's Keepers

16" x 27"

AN EXHIBIT OF PHOTOGRAPHS FROM "AN ART THAT NATURE MAKES"

Rosamond Purcell

CENTER GALLERY ROCHESTER

April 15 – July 23, 2017

ARTIST'S STATEMENT
An Art that Nature Makes

Almost thirty years ago, from the ground of a rural scrap-metal yard came the first, and still most treasured, of found objects: two books glued together by the passage of New England seasons, and half-gnawed by mice into a nest of syllables and straw. Here, I realized, was a perfect example of manmade objects, the books, turning half-way across into an expression of animal industry, the nest. It stands at the cross-roads between artifact and nature, a hybrid object, a grafting of text to nest—”An Art that Nature Makes” * — a title which became the title of the documentary film about my work as an artist and writer and now, here at Big Town, a title for the selected photographs taken for a variety of reasons over the past decades.

An over-arching theme that unites the images in the gallery is that these disparate often wild things have been contained. The Norfolk Island Kereru dive-bombing into the box, the giant ferns in an album, even the gorilla skulls side by side linked by their differences, joined by their similarities belong within a single frame. Of course ‘containment’ in some instances has been contrived. I placed the Kereru head-down into the box to express the fateful history of this large extinct pigeon: the Naturalis museum in Leiden had a single pair of these birds, and according to their records they were first described—and last seen—in the same year, 1801.

The pre-constructed composition of ‘Book Cloth’ and ‘Moths on Music’ are also containers. 'Book Cloth' of binding, cloth, and random text is a recomposed expression of a ruined structure. 'Moths on Music' have a historical reference: on sooty telephone poles in northern England, white moths over decades developed dark smudges to better survive, camouflaged from predators on the poles. These particular moths have been ‘collected’ by my having placed them on termite-eaten music. Now contained within the framework of the music, dark spots on the wings commingle with dark details of notes from the score. But the notion behind the composition refers also to this well-known example of a strategy for survival. The ‘container’ here includes a piece of science history one does—or does not—need to know

But well beyond the box, the book, the shell, structural sameness, or natural camouflage, ‘containment’ is inherent, above all, with the photographs of eggs—the murre eggs in the collector’s box, the fossilized elephant bird egg, the eggs of the hummingbird, and the lacy hard shell of the guira cuckoo. The eggs set their own limits: their contents are invisible, vanished, or perhaps, in the case of the elephant bird, turned to stone.

FOOTNOTE:
*Title from Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, 4.4 lines 504-6
“over that art which you say adds to nature, is an art that nature makes.” In this scene the characters argue about the hybridization of plants, which was becoming fashionable in Shakespeare’s time and was described as an art that nature makes.

Press

"Art Notes: Artist’s Images Animate Eccentric Objects from the 18th and 19th Centuries" - Nicola Smith, Valley News
07/06/2017
"Rochester’s BigTown Gallery Opens Gallery in Vergennes" - The Herald
4/27/2017
"'An Art That Nature Makes: The Work of Rosamond Purcell': Film Review" - Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
08/10/2016
"Review: 'An Art That Nature Makes,' an Illuminating Look at Rosamond Purcell" - A. O. Scott, The New York Times
08/09/2016
"Photographer and Writer Rosamond Purcell" - Terry Gross, Fresh Air
02/02/2004