Francesca Woodman, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, 1980: From the Archives...

L to R: All artworks by Francesca Woodman. 1 & 3: Installation view, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, 1980 / "Study for Tree Piece,” New York, c. 1980. 14 1/2 x 15 1/4 in. Diazotype / 4-5: “Untitled,” MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, 1980. 2 13/16 x 9 15/16 in. Gelatin silver print. Letter on reverse of print / “Untitled,” MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, 1980. 11 x 14 in. Gelatin silver print.

Francesca Woodman spent three weeks in July of 1980 on a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, surrounded by other artists, as well as musicians, poets, novelists and the forests of rural New Hampshire. She arrived there from New York, already thinking about trees.

She wrote: “I am very hot and I am sitting on [the] floor by the window. Looking through the table legs + chair legs I try to think about trees, about the woods. I want to return the wooden table legs to the woods from whence they came.” And she did just that during her residency, making an ephemeral outdoor installation by hanging large-scale diazotype prints of those table legs among the trees.

The time spent at MacDowell seemed to generate new ways of working and engaging with the landscape. “On the reverse side you see Francesca thinking about birch trees, with small success but today’s project is going much better,” she wrote to friends back home. "I’ve never had 24 hrs a day to work undisturbed before with lunch and linens brought and wild strawberries growing out back.”

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