“These photographs are images of birds such as we have rarely seen.” (Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum)
Tristan Hoare and Jean-Michel Wilmotte are delighted to announce the first UK solo exhibition of Edith Marie Pasquier, Wild Surfaces which takes place at the Tristan Hoare Gallery, Oxford Gardens in West London.
Wild Surfaces is a body of work in which Edith Marie Pasquier has sought out contact with wild animals and attempted to replicate her experience using a variety of different mediums. Photographic images, text, and sculpture are employed in the exhibition to push beyond the boundaries of traditional photography allowing her to seek out her subject matter, implying what is felt as much as what is seen.
“… there is nothing heroic, objectifying or exotic about Pasquier’s images. She has been on both actual and imaginative trails of various wild animals, from Hares to Wolves, but it is her ongoing fascination for birds that reveals the rewarding subtleness and empathy in her art.”
For three years, Edith Marie Pasquier travelled to the famous bird observatory at Falsterbo in Sweden where migrating birds from all over the world are documented. Using a Hasselblad camera with a special lens from the observatory she works early in the morning photographing the birds. The results are a fascinating group of intimate portraits far beyond the descriptive purpose of the scientific lens. After repeated trips to Falsterbo Pasquier learnt the nature and behaviour of the birds, however she chooses not to include this information. For example, the Blackcap covers 3, 442 km from Sweden to Lebanon and the Redstart flies 6, 821 km from Sweden to Uganda. The fleeting encounter with each bird is heightened by this understanding, and the resulting images emerge out of the darkness suggesting a profound journey. “Migration is about detail”, she reflects, “about the familiar as well as the vast unknown”.
Each image is captured on film and constructed around a shifting focus point. The photographs are developed in the dark room and meticulously hand printed all of which allows Pasquier to pay tribute to the pioneers of photography such as Henry Fox Talbot and Peter Henry Emerson. The use of a traditional, more contemplative process creates a painterly feel reminiscent of the Dutch 17th century masters. Contours of feathers seem like pencil drawings and flashes of colour suggest the movement of a paintbrush. Edith Marie Pasquier’s subjects are never photographed straight on, they move in and out of focus replicating an encounter in the wild. In the true sense of the term, these images occupy the Romantic tradition, half perceiving and half creating the world through imagination. The more we reflect on the wild animal the more elusive it becomes.