Translucent undergrowth enveloped in muted halos undulates in luminous sequences.   Then, bathed in milky

whiteness, ocean foam penetrates the profile of receding snow.  Suddenly, embryos of life emerge in a violent

illumination.  This triumphant spring is renewal expanding towards the mutations of new life blooming.

The four seasons create an anthology of uncertain figures in which slender plants mirror their own

evanescence. Submitting the extreme logic of photographic technique to its breaking point, Joyce Ryckman

commands her camera obscura in compliance with the natural conditions of the subjects she photographs. 

Each image consists of one single exposure ruled by the flow of time and the unpredictability of precisely

controlled mechanics.  Layer upon layer, each imago naturalis leads our vision through a comic strip of

ever-present consciousness.  Space is shattered, extending beyond the frame, folding and unfolding, dying and

coming back to life.   The forms are at once immutable and anchored in a disquieting precariousness, each

glimpse containing the fragile seeds of its infinity.  Her monumental opus of silver salts reveals an incessant back

and forth between stable and unstable, the moment captured and life evolving, time flowing and its imprint

fixed in memory.

Although moored in space, each captured moment escapes and slips away from its enclosure.  As summer

releases its myriad of water lilies that are transformed into a firmament, the pattern escapes recognition.  A

celestial wave ends in dream space like a pause opening onto the infinite.  The image pulsates, carrying all at

once the echoes of a funeral oration and the joyous song of the star.  Autumn becomes a chimera and the secrets

of the dying season haunt the forest with mysterious shadows.  As much a vibrant awakening as an inclination

towards sadness are these tales of the seasons.  This union harmonizes with the slow and gentle drive of the stars. 

The spectrum of different states of cognition becomes completely visible.

Even as the rules of nature remain constant, their photographic interpretation transforms them. It's all a matter

of manipulation. The serene vibration of arabesques, decipherable as much by their domestic as their natural

inscription, the frosted fence and branches are a footnote to winter, the embodiment of hibernation, assault

and aggression. Bent over, they remain frozen in waiting. Once again, undeterred by the confines of space, the

range of scale and the multiple layers immerse the white season in an aura of mystery, evoking another place

that forebodes the oracle. The continuity incarnates an expansiveness of vision that embraces the realms of

melancholy floating in the shadowy light of sunset.

The artist's work anchors the ephemeral in intervals of infinity.  Her striking breadth of view accentuates a

cyclical movement that strives towards the disintegration of the tumultuous self into the universe. These four

seasons recreate a simultaneity of instants much like a stream of consciousness.  Joyce Ryckman sees the world

through the eyes of a sorceress.  Her work overturns the naturalism genre on a spellbinding journey to the

depth of dreams.

Etienne Desrosiers

translated from the French by Stephen Lyons

Où il est question de la nature : les saisons (2000)



The International Flipbook Festival is a rare celebration of hand-powered cinema, spotlighting a largely overlooked

yet ubiquitous art form.  From photographic pioneers like Edward Muybridge and Thomas Edison to Andy Warhol

and Joe Fafard, artists of every kind have used this unassuming precursor of the moving pictures both as a creative

tool and an art product.

…Among the international and hugely diverse group of participants is Montreal artist, Joyce Ryckman, known for

her photo-based work since the early 1980’s.  This venue turned out to be unexpectedly suited for an artist

preoccupied with the subtleties of both movement and light.

Taken from her 1999 work Où il est question de la nature : les saisons, Ryckman’s entry is a nostalgic reflection on

the passage of time as echoed in the minutiae of nature.

Titled simply October, it offers a cursory visual meditation, a soft plunge into inky darkness leading to a gently

unfolding mystery of the seasons, in this case Fall.  With but a touch of colour, the photographs in Ryckman’s

flipbook are shadow infused and painterly, as is most of her work.

As the pages skip by, a sensation takes hold even before the eye begins to grasp the emerging image.  The viewer

is instantly drawn into an enigmatic, almost primordial space, desperate for light, for life.  It unfolds unhurriedly,

taking the form of dark woods, of rough, peeling bark.  Closer and closer, a yellowed leaf held gently in someone’s

hand, and then back to the velvety darkness, back to the beginning.

In the myriad kaleidoscopic images presented at this fascinating festival…Ryckman’s sensuously melancholic visual

stroll stands out for its sophisticated pictorial originality.…

Dorota Kozinska

Vie des Arts No 205  HIVER 2006—2007



FALLLINEPRESS …a project by Joyce Ryckman that is part of the #fallline50.  It’s not bound but it works as

a book.  4 postcards plus a colophon with imagery and text intertwined.  We love pushing the boundaries of

what a book is and the play of imagery and text—and that’s why these were selected into the show.

@meghanwater for #falllinepress




The world of bookbinding celebrates the city’s 375th anniversary in words and images bound into an exhibition of

art of an exceptional kind.

Presented by the Quebec Bookbinders and Book Artists Association (Association québécoise des relieurs et des

artistes du livre or AQRAL) "Montreal's 375th: a look at the book, a look at the city" is an exhibition that

should appeal even to those unfamiliar with the sophisticated world of bookbinders and book artists.

The artistry involved in creating art books requires both the love of words as well as a talent for visual expression. Montreal multi-media artist Joyce Ryckman has found a niche in this exciting milieu, and her contribution to the

exhibition is a visual, poetic and tactile work of art incorporating verse, photography and bookbinding into one

coherent piece.

Imbued with her lyrical, at times profoundly personal aesthetic, The Scent of Leaves in Summer is an elongated,

horizontal album in elegant black that, resting on its organic spine like a cradle when opened, reveals a vista at

once visual and literary. Composed of–some of the techniques will require further explanation–single sheets,

folded pages, stab binding, tue-mouche binding and digitally printed on Arches paper, the book is sewn with linen

thread transforming it into a unique kind of manuscript. The pictures by emerging photographer Jessica Blair that

illustrate it are nuanced and resonate with Ryckman's subtle poetry.

The book unfolds almost like an origami, revealing stanzas invoking images that speak of the artist's personal


we talked
between breaths in concentric circles

she said
in winter I don’t think of snow falling

I remember
the scent of leaves in summer

The Scent of Leaves in Summer

Dorota Kozinska

Vie des Arts Webzine

12 juin 2017