Klea McKenna. Automatic Earth

5 Nov 2016 — 7 Jan 2017 at the Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles, United States

Klea McKenna, Automatic Earth, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Von Lintel Gallery
Klea McKenna, Automatic Earth, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Von Lintel Gallery
15 DEC 2016

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present new camera-less photographs from San Francisco artist Klea McKenna. The exhibition marks the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.

Automatic Earth is an incisive and intuitive exploration of broken patterns within the landscape. Outdoor photograms of transient, orb spider webs converse with “photographic rubbings” of concentric tree rings and crumbling cement architecture. McKenna approaches these ruptures as allegories for human emotional experience.

Her method of photographic rubbings emanates from years of making nighttime photograms on-location. An impression of an outdoor surface is first hand-embossed onto light-sensitive paper during the dark of night. Then it is exposed by flashlights to fix the inscribed textures. The immediacy between paper and subject generates a dimensional relief—an imprint of place, experience and the labor that made it.

In some instances, multiple impressions are collaged together to yield fictional forms and large-scale installations. By detaching from the conventions and limitations of a traditional camera and negative, McKenna’s innovative methods challenge analog materials to amplify what is felt rather than record what is seen.

Melancholy pervades Klea McKenna’s exquisite photographic rubbings of tree rings made on gelatin silver paper. These unique prints are visual evidence made possible by touch, brilliantly confounding photography’s usual privileging of sight. The rings seem to rise up from the paper, but so too do marks made by the chainsaws that felled the trees... The physical, contemplative process invokes grave rubbings; McKenna’s images are a kind of memorial to the passage of these great trees and to time itself

(Kim Beil, Artforum)

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. Recent exhibitions include: Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA; Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA. Public collections include: Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA; and the US Embassy, Republic of Suriname, Art in Embassies, US Department of State. McKenna lives and works in San Francisco.