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Review of Hatcher's Pond by Jerry Cullum

Lucinda Bunnen reflects On Hatcher’s Pond

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By Jerry Cullum

Lucinda Bunnen’s From Hatcher’s Pond at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) is a high point in a career that has already seen its share of high points.

The large scale and fine clarity of artist John Dean’s digital prints are key to the success of Bunnen’s artfully selected photographs: The romantic cloudiness that turns out to be actual cloud reflections amid the protruding reeds, the sense of confusion between sky and water, tends to turn at a smaller scale into something less emotionally powerful, even if some of the mystico-romantic flavor still comes through.

The sometimes-all-encompassing scale might suggest the visual strategies of Monet’s familiar paintings of water lilies in which botanical fact and reflected reality are blended in productively horizonless compositions, but Bunnen’s photographs are winter scenes that are contemplative rather than frozen: The pods and stalks are stark, and rise in sharp contrast with the encompassing color field of the reflected cloudy weather. As installed, with their ambiguous mix of earth and water and sky suggesting a world somewhere between Anselm Kiefer and Samuel Palmer, the photographs meld thematically with the Absence of Certainty named in the title of Susan Cofer’s adjacent exhibition of meticulous Prismacolor drawings.

Bunnen suggests the work possesses a kinship with Cy Twombly’s calligraphic marks, and the not-quite-random patterns of the reeds (nothing in nature is quite as random as we think it is) do indeed suggest a meaningful pattern that nevertheless eludes our comprehension.

A well-known critic, poet, and ART PAPERS staff member, Dr. Jerry Cullum has been a keen observer of the metro Atlanta scene for decades.