Rachelle Bussières: sipping air

Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present sipping air, a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Rachelle Bussières and is on view June 5-July 3, 2021. A text by Rel Robinson was commissioned to accompany the exhibition. Join us for an artist reception from 1-3pm on Saturday June 5.

In the darkroom, photographers are trained to filter the world into a codified spectrum of greys. Light is allocated with precision, and deviating from this code means untethering an image from its place in a more common reality.

In the interplay of time and light that is the production of a photographic print, one might ask where if not when does the image happen? While an instance of light may be captured within the four edges of a print and the authority of a frame, light is infinite by nature. Sight is simply a negotiation between shadow and reflection. Light rebounds through matter. It is never still, it doesn’t age. We, in contrast, are finite and the photograph offers a remedy for our deeply human susceptibility to time. But light is fickle, the camera is just an instrument, and seeing is just our best guess.

Rachelle Bussières makes photographs without a camera or a negative, exposing silver gelatin paper directly to light; revealing a surprisingly pastel palette. The images in these lumen prints are colored by unfettered access to the sky, the wattage of an incandescent bulb, the brightness of the day, and the clouds in the sky outside her New York City studio.  Each print is a record of its most essential truth, a unique impression of its own place in time and space, of the light outside. From dusky tones to the color of the sun seen from behind closed eyes, her images present hues the way a magnolia tree blooms, all at once—making evident the withheld promise hidden in plain sight.

This body of work is more akin to memory than artifact, something flickering in the periphery of vision, or as a specter of a place without a name.

Rachelle Bussières (Quebec City, Canada) received her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2015. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Addressing the impact of light on our psyche, environment and social structure, Rachelle Bussières’ work is at the intersection of photography and sculpture, moving through a collision of materials and documents through the lumen photographic process. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Penumbra Foundation (NYC, USA), Johansson Projects (Oakland, USA) and Robert Koch Gallery (San Francisco, USA). Awards include the Penumbra Foundation Workspace Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts, an honorable mention for the Snider Prize from MoCP, and being a Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize. Some recent group shows include Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn), Soil Gallery (Seattle, WA), the General French Consulate (San Francisco, CA), the Wing (San Francisco, CA), the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA), Galerie l’Inlassable (Paris, FR), Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA) and Present Company (Brooklyn, NY). Her work is present in various public, corporate and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel, SFMOMA Library and Archives, Facebook (commission mural) in Sunnyvale, Instagram Inc. in San Francisco and Penumbra Foundation in New York City. She is preparing a solo exhibition at Melanie Flood Projects (Portland, OR) in June 2021.

rel robinson. b.1995, Los Angeles is a research-based artist and critic whose work utilizes photography, textiles,  and language to examine the space between absence and belonging. Through material-oriented methodologies her current work explores sense of place, subjective and collective memory, and the mechanisms of knowledge production through a superimposition of personal history.  She is a contributing writer at KQED, and has been published in journals such as THE SEEN, Fourteen Hills, As of Late, and The Eye. Her work has been exhibited at Delaplane (2020), Diego Rivera Gallery (2018), Still Lights Gallery (2018), Bass and Reiner (2017), The Red Victorian (2015). In 2016 she founded conventional projects, an alternative exhibition platform and artist-editions publication.  She holds a BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently based in San Francisco, California.