Enchanted Forest by Amie Potsic at James Oliver Gallery
Lauren Findlay visits a large-scale photography-based exhibition, finding visual connections with fairy tales and her own childhood. -- Artblog editor


Amie Potsic’s photographic installation, Enchanted Forest, is a little bit like walking into Oz. It creates tiny floating portals that you almost feel you could step into, the dark silhouettes from trees creating a foreboding and slightly magic environment around us. You can see the massive installation from the moment you walk into Oliver’s stark white space, the walls leading to the Forest permeated with sapphire-blue photos of silhouettes and saturated gradients. Potsic, the director of the Main Line Arts Center, is a veteran in Philadelphia’s exhibition scene—she is also no stranger to showing internationally, having shown in Greece, Italy, and Columbia, to name a few.

Difficult to distinguish one from the next

Amie Potsic, Enchanted Forest installation view.

One of the most interesting aspects of Potsic’s archival pigment prints is the fact that she photographs nearly the exact same scene in every photo, yet each image is distinct from the next. “Enchanted Forest 2” and “Enchanted Forest 5” could be completely different forests. “Enchanted Forest 2,” for example, packs a National Geographic/Edgar Allan Poe collaborative punch. A deep blue sky melts into a silvery fluorescence at the horizon, permeated with the crisp black silhouettes of branches shattering across the frame. It’s as if we’re standing at the edge of some great wood, or perhaps we’re lost and this is a clearing in the middle, the sky promising that nightfall will come shortly.

Amie Potsic, Enchanted Forest installation view.

“Enchanted Forest 5” presents itself and all of its Matisse Jazz-blue night sky to us in a similar National Geographic-esque sharpness. Unlike “Forest 2,” however, this image seems to fall into a genre leaning more toward documentary than fiction. It shares a similar ambiguity as to where this clot of trees may be located; however, the skyline is different. It looks the same as the suburban New Jersey dusk I used to know as a kid, with faint outlines of the roofs in my neighborhood creating a cityscape with the trees. The foreboding undertones in “Forest 2” have melted away into the safe warmth of suburbia.

Amie Potsic, “Enchanted Forest 5”.

Our last destination in Potsic’s exhibit is the actual “enchanted forest”. Its magnificent blue canopy sweeps across the ceiling and tumbles downward to create segments and windows inviting us to peer in. All of the branches seem connected to the same enormous tree on the other side of the barrier, much like the windows punctuating the walls of a house—Potsic is creating the very views around us. If you walk into the center of the forest and look up, a canopy of sky hangs above you like a skylight. The lines between installation and photography are blurred, and we receive a fully immersive photography exhibition in exchange.

Enchanted Forest by Amie Potsic is at James Oliver Gallery Oct. 24 – Dec. 5, 2015. Hours: Wed – Fri 5-8 pm, Sat 1-8 pm, or by appointment.


amie potsic, installation, james oliver gallery, philaelphia, photography


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