Dreamland: Dietmar Busse’s ‘A Northern Land Where Young Men go to Sing with the Trees’ Exhibition at FIERMAN Gallery text Valerie McPhail


In his first solo exhibition New York artist Dietmar Busse shares A Northern Land Where Young Men go to Sing with the Trees at FIERMAN. The square box gallery notorious for showcasing contemporary artists invites us to experience Busse’s enchanting photography now open through March 4th.

Through a process of dying and bleaching gelatin silver prints, the recovery of Busse’s work creates a new perspective on the subjects photographed. Setting the tone, the senior work of the collection, A Childhood Nightmare humanizes the subject cow by standing the beast on hind legs and dressing it in a skirt. The animal projects itself from the tranquil rural setting by flailing its hands in the air as if in panic. The wondrous sight is also frightening, guiding the imagination into a journey hallucinating between reality and fantasy.

The portrait titled A Boy in the Garden features a young male subject perceived without gender as his boyhood becomes clouded by a red abyss exhausting the background of the photograph. Viewers are left observing dominant hazel eyes staring back with response. The neighboring image, a fearless feminine portrait, complements her male counterparts. Hausfrau with Shotgun and Butterflies adorns a German housewife with a veil of colorful flowers and worshiping butterflies gathered at the skirt of the page. Similar attributes grace the exhibit’s largest installation, Heimet. In a fairytale presentation of Busse’s country, galloping horses and cattle morph into a majestic vision of creatures in a dreamland as bouquets of floral illustrations and billows of pink gleam in their fields.

The world where Busse grew up,” a farming village of northwestern Germany “ is depicted by the community of villagers, trees, herds of oxen and stallions local to the property. Like a transcendent appearance, Busse’s work illuminates. Boy with Halo confidently demands attention as his aura summons butterflies and florets to dance before his crown. This character, integrated into the countryside, comes to life through the artist’s techniques. Accents of color and illustration capture the artist’s angle, a romantic lens on the community that created Busses’ childhood. As he honors his subjects, they respond with gaze and stares. Questions raise to whether this affection was kindly received, or warded off. The polarity between floral adorations and hostile looks captivates an audience’s attention. This sparks a colorful experience; the enigmatic expression of subjects brings no connection but draws the observer closer.


Valerie McPhail

Valerie McPhail is a New York-based writer on things of style and artistic expression. She has a portfolio of writing for both fashion and art publications. Although she enjoys covering fashion news and supporting new designers, her favorite subject to explore is the experience of fashion and how life is communicated through clothing. She believes there is a lot to be said about this.