review

Brigitte Carnochan Exhibition
Floating World

Woodstock Times -July 8, 2010
Smart Art by Paul Smart


Ageless Lyricism

The new show of luscious photographic works by Stanford University's Brigitte Carnochan at Galerie BMG, entitled Floating World and set for an Artist's Reception 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, July 10, seems a universe away from her last exhibition of painted photographs three years ago.

Then, gallery owner Bernard Gerson came over with a portfolio of Carnochan's works to share his enthusiasm for the perfection of her matching of applied color and romantically-captured floral images, plus a selection of expertly muted nudes. Now, her work seems to have emerged from someplace deeper within the woman's soul, or possibly a netherworld of unchanging aesthetics. Bodies float behind amorphous yet delicately detailed surfaces, while another layer of calligraphy rests atop all, like whispered prayers.

Conjoining the two bodies of work are a similar attentiveness to detail and, simultaneously, the wavering impermanence of all beauty. The pictures catch in one's vision the way a beautiful passage of writing catches in the throat; they conjure deep memories of emotions, of shared moments of fragility and tenderness, of things almost lost...like ideals, or the early breathless days and nights of love.

Gerson now explains how this new series started while the artist was rummaging through a used book store where she discovered a volume of haiku and tanka written by Japanese women from the 7th through the 20th centuries.

"I was immediately drawn to the poems, and as I read them - so allusive and rich in imagery - I knew that I wanted to make their photographic equivalents," Carnochan has since written. "The Floating World refers to the conception of a world as evanescent, impermanent, of fleeting beauty and divorced from the responsibilities of the mundane, everyday world. For the poets in this volume, that world centered on love - longing for love and the beloved, mourning lost love, pondering its mystery. The beauty of the natural world - its flowers, landscape, the moon, and the changing seasons - serves as the primary metaphor."

Born in Germany and educated at San Jose State University (B.A., English), Stanford University (M.A., Education), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., English), Carnochan evolved, artistically, from an early love for dance through a career teaching English Literature to a gardening avocation and later life as a master photographer, and photography teacher, whose various other interests have informed her primary subject matters: the formal beauty of bodies, flowers and fruit...and their reflection, now, in ageless lyricism.

Her work has received numerous awards and has been shown in exhibitions throughout the country as well as in several recent publications and books. She currently teaches photographic workshops at Stanford University and is a Board Member of the Santa Fe Center for Photography in New Mexico.

"To interpret the essence of my subject according to my own imagination... I don't feel compelled to imitate reality," she has said of the basic aesthetic she's followed across several art forms, now. "I am drawn to my subject matter because I find the formal beauties inherent in the human body and in flowers to be an embodiment of the spiritual... I am moved by the power of the imagination, by the ways in which it colors everyday life - creates, in fact, private views of experience, whether revealed in words or in images."++


Times Herald Record -July 9, 2010
Exhibits and Galleries


Love, love, love

A world of love is what German photographer Brigitte Carnochan is showing with "Floating World," the new exhibit at Galerie BMG in Woodstock. "Floating World" is based on a found book of haiku and tanka written by Japanese women finding answers about love, using the natural world as a muse. Thus the exhibit is filled with photos detailing the delicate: bodies, flowers, fruit.

What: "Floating World" by Brigitte Carnochan

When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Mon., through Aug. 2; opening reception 5 p.m. Sat.

Where: Galerie BMG, 12 Tannery Brook Road, Woodstock