Jeri Lynn Eisenberg
selected by Craig J. Barber
“A Sojourn in Seasons: Sketching with Light Among Trees” / I live in the Hudson River Valley, home to the landscapes of the sublime depicted in perhaps the first true American school of painting. As a photographer, I feel no need to revisit these once grand vistas, or to seek out the majestic mountain ranges and rushing rivers of the American West that provided a more modern notion of the sublime. Rather, it is the common wooded landscape of my day-to-day life that captures my attention. Many of my images are from an area about twenty miles from my home and many are from an area within a twenty-minute walk of my back door. Others are from farther flung places that are generally more ordinary than spectacular, places that I just happen to be for one prosaic reason or another.
By photographing these tree filled landscapes with a purposefully oversized pinhole or a radically defocused lens, however, I capture them as they are not often seen. The images are firmly grounded in the natural world, a particular place, a particular season, a particular time, but by obscuring detail, only the strongest brush strokes emerge. The images become sketches with light, literally and figuratively. I print these soft-focused images digitally on Japanese Kozo paper, with the barest hint of color in certain values, reminiscent of traditional split-toned photographs. I infuse the large-scale prints with encaustic medium, making the delicate paper at once both more translucent and better able to stand on its own. Without glass or frame, the work is more immediate and intimate. Through the depiction of a succession of seasons, the work echoes life’s temporal cycles. It succeeds for me when it provides fragmentary glimpses of the beauty that exists in the everyday natural world – when it consoles, despite the awareness of this beauty’s transience.
Craig J. Barber writes: In a time when beauty and non-political landscape imagery have been shunned by the art world, Jeri Eisenberg has created ethereal photographs of mysterious and haunting trees that embrace both beauty and nature with a gentle force while exploring issues related to aging and loss of sight. Combining earlier processes (encaustic) with contemporary techniques (digital), and a 21st century sensibility – vision/presentation, Ms. Eisenberg’s work adds a new chapter to the tradition of landscape photography. Instead of presenting nature in all of its glorious splendor, her fragmented trees give us pause and demand our attention as we reconsider our ever evolving relationship with the natural world.
Formerly an attorney, Jeri Eisenberg lives and works in the upper Hudson Valley , where she teaches at Sage College of Albany. She recently completed her MFA degree at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and has participated in workshops at the International Center of Photography, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, the Woodstock Photography Workshops, and more. She has exhibited widely over the past ten years, both regionally and across the country, including New York venues Gallery BMG in Woodstock , Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson , Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs , and Albany Center Galleries in Albany . Jeri has received Individual Artist Grants through the New York Council on the Arts, numerous Special Opportunity Stipends through the New York Foundation for the Arts, and artists’ residency awards. Her work is held in public and private collections.