By Caroline Hirsch September 11, 20
Growing up on the forested volcanic slopes of the Big Island of Hawaii fueled the photographer Klea McKenna‘s fascination with nature. And her “No Light Unbroken” series is not only infused with nature, but essentially created by it. After getting frustrated early on with the predictability of straightforward photography, she turned to photograms for their ability to directly and physically capture the natural world. Her process involves placing an object on light-sensitive material and then exposing the composition to light; the resulting image is an imprint of that object. “I’m able to use this medium to allow a place for the elements to picture themselves,” explains McKenna, who works with rain, spiders and banana trees as her recurring subjects.
The rain images “began as an experiment, to see if it was possible to create a visual imprint of this experience we are all familiar with: the feeling of standing in the pouring rain in total darkness,” McKenna says. “Once I began making them, I became fascinated by the way that each rainstorm looked different: the patterns of a tropical downpour versus a winter drizzle. I’ve become obsessed with dots and drops.” As with her other work in the project, which is now on view now at Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles, the photographs embody the strangeness and drama that continue to draw her to the medium, and capture, she says, that sweet spot “where my own intention meets the unpredictable.”
“Klea McKenna: No Light Unbroken” is on view through Oct. 18 at Von Lintel Gallery, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, vonlintel.com.