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Esther Pullman : Environment for Growth

Ester Pullman








Private Estate Greenhouse, Winter
2005
photographic C-print
Collection Danforth Museum of Art
Gift of the Artist

November 26, 2008 — February 8, 2009


About the Exhibit

Esther Pullman has been photographing greenhouses since 1999, a project that grew from her love of gardening.  Her pronounced love of horticulture inspires an exploration of an environment made perfect.  In her words, “the green in plants is chlorophyll, the magic pigment that allows them to transform the energy of light into food.  The green house is a space created for the cultivation of plants…a chamber for capturing light.”  But her interest extends to the mechanical systems—the vents, fans, heaters and pipes—that “optimize conditions for life and growth.” 

Beginning with the greenhouses at Wellesley College, Pullman has now photographed greenhouses from around the world, using a film camera to create both conventional darkroom and digital prints.  Travel have allowed her to explore a variety of different gardens and architecture throughout France, England, Italy and Greece, but she finds herself returning again and again to sites around the Boston area to create “extended portraits of changing light, changing seasons.”

As a former graphic designer, she pays homage to Albers and his composition of space on a flat plane.  Her studies of diffused light framed by a consistent type of architecture, allows for the repetition of elements from one picture to another, to discover “pictures within pictures, framed by the structural grid of the green house and its doors and windows.”  However, Pullman’s work goes beyond mere composition.  Her exploration is visual and intuitive, leading the viewer to consider that all growth eventually ends in death and decay.  Although she has not self-consciously tired to imbue her pictures with a sense of memento mori, she admits that “big themes do seem to be lurking there: cycles of the season, light and dark, life and death, renewal.”

Pullman has exhibited widely, with one person shows at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; Drawing Room in East Hampton, Long Island; Regis College in Weston, MA; and Victoria Munroe Fine Art Gallery in Boston, MA.

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