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1992 Artist in Residence Lynn Geesaman dies at the age of 81

By Jenny Zeller

Untitled by Lynn Geesaman, 1992 Artist in Residence

Bernheim was saddened to learn of the passing of 1992 AIR Lynn Geesaman, a self-taught, internationally known artist and photographer, after living with dementia for 15 years . Atmospheric, poetic and magical are just a few adjectives to describe the work she created not only at Bernheim, but throughout her lifetime.

Trained originally as a scientist, Lynn Geesaman photographed engineered landscapes such as public parks, orchards, and formal gardens, emphasizing composition, geometry, and form over subject matter.

This tension between abstraction and representation is present in much of Gessaman’s work, achieved partly through a personally developed and secret diffusion technique that intensified color and suppressed detail without taking it out of focus. Gessaman credits her Bernheim residency in 1992 as the impetus that inspired her exploration of color photography. Her dreamlike imagery has a beautiful, otherworldly presence that evokes the Romanticism art movement in their relationship of nature and the expression of pure feeling.

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Geesaman has won numerous grants and awards including the Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship in 1991, and the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Visual Arts Fellowship Award for the Midwest, 1993-1994. There are three monographs published on her entitled “Poetics of Place,” 1998,  “Gardenscapes,” 2004, and “Hazy Lights and Shadows: Lynn Geesaman,” 2007.

Her work has been exhibited in numerous institutions including International Center of Photography, New York; The Houston Center for Photography; The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; Tucson Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe. Her work is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris.

All of the images in the above slide show were captured at Bernheim during Geesaman’s residency in 1992. They are all untitled, as most of her work was referenced numerically by location and not individually by name. These images are on permanent loan and available for viewing in the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville’s Special Collections.

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