NEW YORK – A Palm Tree Is A Palm Tree Is A Palm Tree, a recent series of photographic assemblages by Bruno V. Roels, will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from March 22 - May 5, 2018. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, March 22, from 6-8 p.m.
A Palm Tree Is A Palm Tree Is A Palm Tree, a play on Gertrude Stein’s line of verse “a rose is a rose is a rose,” explores the multiplicity of the iconic palm tree in photographic repetition and variation. Of his instantly-recognizable and internationally symbolic muse, Roels has said, “Every palm tree is alike, and looks the same no matter what its location. Each is different, though, as each is shaped by the events of its location.” He has photographed palm trees predominantly in the south of Europe.
As Roels considers the act of printing as important as the act of photographing itself, he uses analog photographic techniques such as solarization and under- and overexposure to add or subtract information. Finding each print of inherent value, his grid compositions are built of multiple iterations of a single moment and a single image. No two prints are the same. He uses the separate prints and unique details in sequences and fluctuations to convey a more significant meaning, much like the way a poet uses individual words to write a poem.
Says Roels, “Using the name of a thing invokes the imagery and emotions associated with it. For me, palm trees evoke history, exotic locations, luxury, freedom, and an Indiana Jones-like mystery. But there’s also a certain sense of post-colonial shame, and often palm trees bear testimony to distinct gaps between rich and poor. I may claim that palm trees are palm trees but there are enormous semantic differences between a palm tree in Switzerland and one in North Africa.”
About Bruno V. Roels
Born in 1976, Bruno V. Roels lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. He divides his time between writing and photographing. Roels’ work has been seen in solo exhibitions at Gallery Fifty One, Antwerp, at numerous international art fairs, and in group exhibitions including Photo Frictions at the Cultuurcentrum Mechelen, Belgium, which is on view through April 15. Roel’s book, I Dreamt An Island, was published by Gallery Fifty One in 2015. His work is part of major international private and public collections including The Walther Collection and the Milwaukee Art Museum. The exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery is the artist’s first solo show in New York City.