Emma Ressel

“Whale fall” is the oasis of life that blooms around the decaying body of a whale when it dies and falls to the bottom of the ocean. The carcass can sustain life at the ocean floor for 50-70 years, the same amount of time as the average whale’s lifespan. I interpreted this largely invisible ecological process into a body of photographs at the grand, crumbling Lexington House on the banks of the Schoharie River in upstate NY. I saw the house as another decomposing body— the room I was working in was flooded multiple times, including during hurricane Irene. Working at the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus case detected in the US, this project is a quiet meditation on the intermingling of beauty and sadness in death, as well as the fear and awe of living through natural disaster.

The project was made as part of the Triple Take Residency hosted by Four-D projects at the Prattsville Art Center and Lexington House. Two other projects were made during the residency, and the three can be viewed at the online exhibition at https://4444-d.com/Triple-Take. A group show will open at the Prattsville Art Center in mid-April.