March 1-31, 2019, 12-5pm
From using photography as a means to first document his wilderness journeys, Eli Rush’s camera has since then grown into a constant companion across 17 expeditions including through the Canadian Yukon, the Bolivian Amazon and Alaska’s remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In the March show at LeeAnn Brook Fine Art in Nevada City entitled “A Labor of Love and Patience”, Rush’s work travels through the wilderness and into the darkroom, with images that are primarily from local habitat. His unique platinum/palladium prints that are hand-processed in the darkroom using up to 8” x 10 inch negatives, reflect soft tones of black and white that are reminiscent of earlier photography, long before the digital revolution. They speak quietly and eloquently, presenting nature’s palette of forms and textures in an intimate way. The show runs March 1-31.
This show is about much more than just landscape photography. It is about patience and the painstaking process an artist chooses who is drawn to another route. Eli Rush demonstrates the epitome of “slow photography”, a journey he takes in all aspects of his work. Sitting all day at the shore of marshes at Gray Lodge Wildlife Refuge in Gridley, only to capture one or two images that are “worthy” of an 8″ x10″ negative from his large format bellows camera speaks volumes about his intention. Taking it a step further, Rush’s platinum/palladium printing process is “brushed on like gold”, never knowing if a print will be successful or not. All of the photos show the extension of the developer beyond the negative into the margins of fine imported papers, showing a black irregular border that looks like art in itself. The end result is a collection of exquisitely sensitive photos reflecting the journey of this artist’s slow, methodical process.
“On occasion, I run across an artist who is fascinated with “process”, from beginning to end. This, I feel, is where art lives. When I came across Eli Rush’s work years ago, I could clearly see that he was on this path. Listening to Eli describe his process is fascinating, as he weaves the story of the image that sits in front of you. This remarkable show demonstrates both process and patience in a quiet, refined way” remarks gallery owner LeeAnn Brook.
Platinum palladium printing has become a large part of Rush’s works, with little changing in the making of these prints since the 1870’s when it was first created. The printing process once required the sun as the light source for platinum printing, but is now exposed to UV light in a box containing 10 black lights and a liquid developer which completes the image. With many other steps in the process, the print is then subjected to a series of chemical baths, a water bath, then dried. The prints are known not only for their rendering of the gray scale, but also for lasting 100s of years.
Since 1981, Rush has traveled to remote parts of the planet and paddled over 2000 miles of rivers in wilderness areas across the world. He began using a 35mm camera and eventually worked his way up to medium format, then 4×5 and finally an 8×10 inch view camera. It wasn’t until 2005 that he began using black and white film and making platinum prints. Prior to then, he had only used color film. Rush now uses both color and black and white, spending up to 6 weeks at a time on rivers in the Far North.
The show will also feature new mixed paintings by LeeAnn Brook and Deborah Bridges, new sculpted wood vessels by Mike Snegg, and mixed media ceramic sculpture by Heidi Murray. Featuring the on-site studio of LeeAnn Brook, the gallery showcases art from local and regional artists including paintings, photography, sculpted wood vessels, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, handcrafted furniture and sculpture in a curated setting with Japanese antiques. LeeAnn Brook Fine Art is located at 231 Broad St. in Nevada City, open daily from 12-5 p.m., Saturdays open at 11 a.m.. For more information, visit www.leeannbrookfineart.com.