Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Melanie Willhide and Klea McKenna at Von Lintel Gallery | Art Walk News

Melanie WIllhide, This is Not a Painting!
2014 Archival pigment print, 26 x 30 incnes, Edition of 5
Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present  Henbane for Honey Bun, an exhibition of new photographs by Melanie Willhide and the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.

Henbane is a flowering nightshade known for its ability to induce dramatic  hallucinations and has potentially lethal consequences if consumed in  large amounts. Willhide’s digitally collaged photographs borrow the  visual language of the hallucination to combine portraits of women with  still life images of fake flowers. Willhide’s female subjects are clearly made in the contemporary  moment but incite memories of classic tropes, celebrating youth, beauty  and desire: the playboy bunny, the fashionable waif and the  pre-Raphaelite damsel. Despite these references, Willhide’s girls are  different. They are uninterested in the viewer’s gaze, they have power  and their images are un-tethered from fixed definitions.

In contrast, the fake flower is a fixed subject at the peak of its  beauty. It has no birth, does not decay, nor does it die. The image of  the flower has long been associated with the notion that both life and  beauty are short-lived.  Building on this historical notion, Willhide  adopts the fake flower as a symbol of the nonsensical expectation of  image culture.

Fake flowers and photographs can be absurd proxies for the real thing  yet Willhide reconfigures them in such a way that their qualities  become deeply psychological, symbolic and, perhaps, even supernatural.

Born in Connecticut in 1975, Willhide has an MFA in Photography from  Yale University School of Art and a BFA from Rhode Island School of  Design. She has exhibited throughout the United States for nearly two  decades. Her work has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Blind SpotArt in America and Modern Painters.

Willhide lives and works in Los Angeles.

Klea McKenna, How Forests Think #1, 2014
Chromogenic photogram, 40 x 32 inches, Unique
Von Lintel Gallery presents No Light Unbroken  – a new body of work from experimental photographer Klea McKenna.

McKenna’s photograms – unique photographs made without a camera in a  direct light-to-paper process – are created mostly outdoors at night as  she attempts to imprint her environment using light-sensitive materials;  devising innovative ways for them to interact with the landscape. Place  is a primary component in McKenna’s work, rooting the imagery in either  a rich historical narrative or personal experience.

This exhibition, the artist’s first solo show with the gallery, is sparked by an early childhood lived off-the-grid in Hawaii.

Abstractly patterned rainstorms, vividly colored banana leaves and  delicately haunting spider webs approach a near hyper realism as  filtered through McKenna’s eye.  If photography is a window, McKenna’s  works are a portal: a visceral translation of an “animated, almost  personified” perception of nature.
Even when working inside the darkroom, McKenna’s methods remain  intuitive and unpredictable yielding imagery that glows from the kind of  curiosity necessary to create it.  Indeed, it is this thrill of  discovery and patience in practice that keeps both McKenna and the  viewer hungry for more.

McKenna was born in Freestone, CA in 1980 and received a BA from the  University of California in Santa Cruz and an MFA from the California  College of the Arts. McKenna has exhibited over the past decade across  the United States, including at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San  Diego, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, the Woodstock Center for  Photography, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and an upcoming  exhibition at the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY.

McKenna lives and works in San Francisco. 

Read original article @ artwalknews

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