Group Show | Maine Museum of Photographic Arts, Portland, ME
Review by Jorge Arango, Maine Sunday Telegram, 7-24-22
Woodruff throws reality to the wind. His process in this latest series is to take hundreds of photographs of flowers, print them onto paper and cut them by hand, then lay them in collaged groupings on several sheets of glass separated a few inches from each other. He also trains light in between the layered composition so that the resulting single image is actually one of looking down through the layers.
It becomes impossible, then, to view the flat image and determine which blossoms are at what depth, or whether floral images are actually abutting others on the same layer or through multiple layers. These images are pure artifice, but also mind-bending in a way that scrambles our perceptive capacities. Our brain and eyes cannot exactly discern what it is we're looking at, what is forefront and what is background.
Woodruff's previous series, where he applied the same process to photos of stars in the night sky, moonlight or sunlight, remain for me far more interesting, mainly because they had the added perceptual confusion of seeming to actually emanate points of light, as if illuminated by little LED bulbs behind the print. It is not that these are not interesting; they are. And they have a chaotic lushness that captures flowers at their ripest moment -- bright, fully opened and in your face -- which inevitably also implies decay and death, pointing to the impermanence of things. We can see them as both fecund and funereal.
Group Show | Cove Street Arts Gallery, Portland, ME
Excerpts from review by Jorge Arango, Maine Sunday Telegram, 3-7-21