Andrew Bush

Born 1956, St. Louis, MO

After attending Pomona College, Andrew Bush received his MFA from Yale University. He has lived in Los Angeles for over twenty years, and he has exhibited here in New York since 1984. Bush has worked in a variety of formats, subjects, and mediums for more than twenty-five years, concentrating on the theme of identity as defined by possessions. He completed his first project, entitled Bonnettstown Hall, in 1984, a record of an 18th century Irish Georgian country manor occupied by the same Protestant family for many generations. These large format color pictures in which he utilized only natural light began as his master's thesis project at Yale. When published in 1989 as a monograph by Abrams, these images, magical in their stillness, details, and light, inspired a generation of documentary photographers.

Bush's move to Los Angeles in 1985 initiated a dramatic transformation. He began a project called Vector Portraits using still images and video. Mounting the equipment on the passenger side of his car, he photographed drivers on the L.A. freeways, their portraits framed by the car window and the surrounding landscape. These drivers, either lost in reverie or interacting with the other passengers, form a series of great American portraits. Although not formally apparent, these vector portraits led to Bush's next series—Envelopes. Produced since the early 1990s, the works in this project are one to one scale images of all kinds of envelopes; new, old, and in all shapes and sizes, which are placed in antique photographic printing frames. Bush continued to capture close-up views of inanimate objects in his series Short Snorters (1993-1998), in which he photographed crinkled, weathered currencies from all over the world.

In his next project, the Prop Portraits series, shown in 2000, he shot with his usual large format camera in the flea markets of Los Angeles. Creating large-scale Epson color prints, he selected his subjects from the market crowd and photographed them as they posed before a semitransparent scrim holding objects that they had selected. Bush temporarily situates his subjects within a private space, making their purchases or props become a trophy of their identity and passage through life. Bush has completed a documentary project on Derrida's library.

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