The Dylan Ellis Gallery is proud to present The Old Garden, an exhibition of handmade photographic works by American artist Diana H. Bloomfield. A native of North Carolina, Bloomfield specializes in 19th-century photographic printing processes, including tri-colour gum bichromate and cyanotype.
As part of Bloomfield’s mission to create one piece of handmade art every day for a year, she began The Old Garden in 2018, to honour both her own and her grandmother’s Southern gardens. Tri-colour gum bichromate is a slow and painstaking process, rife with variables, imperfections, and endless creative possibilities. Exploiting 21st-century technology, Bloomfield first converts a colour image into digital format and then parses it into CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) separation negatives. She then brushes discrete layers of an emulsion of dichromate, gum arabic, and each of the CMYK pigments onto watercolour paper—each separation layer must be in near-perfect registration with the one before. A combination of painting, photography, and print-making, the resulting image can appear timeless.
In rich yet faded hues, Bloomfield’s gardens mingle, intertwine, and overlap. Although permanently fixed in the form of pigment encased in hardened gum arabic, the flowers remain, like memories, as ephemeral as ever. This is Bloomfield’s first solo exhibition in Canada.