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PRC Nights Online: Botanical Photography

    ONLINE January 18th, 6:30-8:30pm
    Featuring Mary Kocol, with John H. Woodruff and Katherine Gulla

    Botanical photography has a long history going back to the 1843 cyanotypes by Anna Atkins compiled into, Photographs of British algae, which was the first book to be illustrated with photographic images.* The interplay between art, science and photography continues today and often references the painted still life tradition. Contemporary photographic techniques continue to transform this genre and through the work of Mary Kocol, John H. Woodruff and Katherine Gulla, we can experience a range of viewpoints on this theme.

    MaryKocol, Two Dahlias Opening, 2018

    Mary Kocol is a fine art and editorial photographer, and Massachusetts master gardener based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Born in Hartford Connecticut, Mary was educated at the University of Connecticut, and the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a Master of Fine Art degree in Photography.

    Kocol’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Fitchburg Art Museum, Boston Public Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and others. She’s a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and several Massachusetts Local Cultural Council grants.

    Mary Kocol works as a professional photographer at Harvard University’s Art Museum where she photographs the Museum’s vast and diverse art collection. Her photographs are represented by Gallery NAGA, Boston, Massachusetts.

    John Woodruff, Arrangement 6, 2021

    Maine-based photographer John H. Woodruff has exhibited his work throughout New England. He studied biology and photography at the University of Hartford, and worked as studio photographer for several years, where he became adept at a wide range of lighting techniques.

    In the mid-1980’s Wodruff formed an Architectural Photography studio focused on shooting architecture for architects and builders. His work was film-based using largely a 4×5 view camera, and he transitioned to digital capture in 2010.

    For the past twenty years Woodruff has used paper as the underlying element for creating his images. The paper is cut into biomorphic shapes and his most recent series is based on flowers photographed during the past year. The images are printed as photo-copies of varying sizes which he hand cuts from their respective backgrounds to segregate the flower itself. The flowers are then composed on elevated glass layers, which allow him to light each level independently.

    Woodruff’s inventive and poetic compositions embrace color and form and explore the illusion of depth resulting in visually charged, immersive photographs that challenge the viewers perception of what a photograph should be. They linger at the intersection of painting and photography, imagery and abstraction.

    Katherine Gulla, May 9th, Tea Crabapple

    Katherine Gulla’s series, Flower Fruit is a diary of our temporal and spatial relationship to trees. Behind the stillness, trees push through time and space on a timetable invisible to us. We see branches swaying in the wind, but we can’t see nutrients coursing from roots to crown.  The resulting slow growth of leaves, blossoms and fruit marks the time we count in months and years. In the photographs, multiple exposures amplify depth and stretch the boundary between tree and landscape. This staggered effect creates a sense of time rushing past as if we could see the seasons changing before our eyes. 

    Gulla’s work has been shown widely throughout New England and New York. In 2020, Katherine Gulla:  Passage at Danforth Art Museum featured work exploring states of change in four different mediums. In 2018, the deCordova Museum Corporate Art Program commissioned Forest for a site-specific installation in Cambridge, MA and Catamount Arts Gallery in Vermont included Falling 10 in Arts Connect. In 2017, 555 Gallery in Boston and Quogue Gallery in the Hamptons, NY featured The Path paintings. Forest and Shadow photo sculptures were on view at Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, MA. Exhibitions at Danforth Art Museum in Massachusetts from 2007 to 2022 include a 2008 solo show and the Annual with 2nd Prize in 2016, and Honorable Mention in 2011 and 2014. Gallery Kayafas in Boston featured Gulla’s photo sculptures and paintings in one-person and two-person shows in 2008 and 2006.  Her works are in private, corporate and museum collections. 

    *The Royal Society, The Roots of photography, by Virginia Mills, July 27, 2021