Amanda Marchand: The Book of Hours and True North
How do you explain what winter is like to people who have never experienced it? I’m not talking about California winter, or Florida winter. I mean true, Northeast winter where you sometimes can’t go outside for fear that your eyelids will freeze shut, during which it’s more efficient and also more stylish to arrive places on your snowmobile rather than in your car. How do you describe a quiet that is three dimensional, flexing and shimmering like some bewitched cloak draped around you?
The winter forces you to be inside. Inside your home, inside your mind. Time stretches along, like the pulling of taffy, so that every shift in the wind or rustling of an animal outside the window appears to happen in slow motion.
I was lucky enough to revisit this nostalgia I have for winters past with the help of Amanda Marchand’s series True North and related book, Book of Hours, printed and bound by Datz Press. This tender meditation on the passage of time and light provides a much needed respite from the pace and demands of daily life. Marchand endured temperatures well below freezing in order to make the most of a hazy 6 hours of sunlight each day during her month-long residency in Finland, all the while asking herself and thereby her viewers to contemplate the subtleties of winter’s stillness.
Marchand’s series and book were recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Traywick Contemporary in Berkley, and will be part of an upcoming group exhibition titled Here, Now at the Datz Museum of Art, running from July 7th to October 7th.
My work grapples with what is raw and immutable in the human psyche, always with deep affection for the natural world.
“True North” contemplates the nature of time, the intangibles of existence. Photographed during the darkest month of the year, this series led to heightened attention through stillness, a focus on increment of time. At a month-long residency in rural Finland, I found myself drawn to the deep-blue periods framing the day and the monotone palette against the snow. With the sun closest to the horizon the overcast sky became a kind of photographic scrim. The daylight lasted approximately six hours and I spent most of this outside in the -5 to -20 degree weather watching the light shift. Otherwise, I photographed from my bedroom/studio (what was formerly an old schoolhouse), the subtle changes and surprises through the window; nautical twilight, a bird, the
This series provides an antidote to the high-speed, media-saturated world of the minute. Much like the practice of meditation, “True North” asks the simple question, “What happens when you pay attention?” –Amanda Marchand
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