Tanya Marcuse is a photographer whose recent work investigates the natural world in immersive, large scale photographs. These obsessively detailed photographs, each the product of weeks of collection and composition, are perched between the natural and the fantastic, evoking a Boschian world of allegory and fable.
In 2005, she embarked on a three-part, fourteen-year project, Fruitless | Fallen | Woven, moving from iconic, serial photographs of trees in Fruitless to lush, immersive, allegorical works in Fallen and Woven. The photographs in Woven are as large as 5 x 13 feet. Fueled by the Biblical narrative of the fall from Eden, these related projects use increasingly fantastical imagery and more elaborate methods of construction to explore cycles of growth and decay and the dynamic tension between the passage of time and the photographic medium.
She has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, and has published three books with Nazraeli Press, Undergarments and Armor (2005), Fruitless (2007) and Wax Bodies (2012). Other books include Fruitless | Fallen | Woven (Radius Press, 2019) and INK (Fall Line Press, 2021). Her work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, the Yale Art Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Her work is represented by Julie Saul Gallery in New York City, where she has had four solo exhibitions.
She studied art history and studio art at Oberlin and earned her M.F.A. from Yale. She lives and works in the Hudson Valley and teaches photography at Bard College.
At MacDowell in 2018 she created a mock-up of her forthcoming book comprised of three major projects, Fruitless/Fallen/Woven, with Radius Press. In addition, she created a series of formal portraits of fellows and staff in the MacDowell community.
Her series of large-scale photographs, “Woven,” was exhibited at Julie Saul Gallery in NYC in the fall of 2017. During her residency she installed a 66 x 126” studio print from the "Woven" series at the James Baldwin Library, and had a group of high school students visit her studio.
During her 2023 Fellowship, she created many new still and video works that are part of her newest project called Book of Miracles. She incorporated materials collected in the Monadnock region into her constructed tableaux. The work produced at MacDowell will become a central part of her forthcoming book as well as her exhibition at the Image Center in Toronto. Marcuse was recently awarded a Peter S. Reed Grant. Her work is currently featured in Women Re-Frame American Landscape at the Thomas Cole Historic Site.
Portrait by Ann Daly