Variations Now, new photographs by Kate McKenna
by Kathleen Mann
In the last three years Kate McKenna has made a real sensation with her solo exhibitions “Suculencia” and “Encarnación,” color photographs printed on canvas. Then she showed her impeccable eye and technique in oversize black and white photographs on paper, a collection called “Desert Prayers,” which we saw in her two-person show with painter Mary Breneman. Now the artist is about to debut a new body of work, which she calls “Variations Now.” The exhibit will be at Galería 6, on the main plaza of Mineral de Pozos, from June 23 to August 19.
McKenna has recently entered the territory of abstraction. She turned her lens onto the textured and surprisingly colorful surface of tree bark. The powerful graphic composition for which she is already well known is again on display, and yet this is different.
By photographing naturally abstract surfaces she started down a different path. The resulting photographs are free interpretations of line, space and color – plus time. In the development of her digital images she has allowed herself the liberty of removing or enhancing color and softening focus selectively. As an accomplished printer, she has created canvases that – as always – put the viewer in a present moment experience. With these works however, the moment and the object are beyond their literal definition. “Variations Now” is an invitation into a present experience of an ever-changing reality.
As McKenna has shown in her earlier work, she is a courageous, unflinching witness, finding and expressing an exuberant, sensual communion with the world. She dives into the liminal space that is the encounter of artist and subject, melding moment and thing, a fusion that transports viewers in a very personal experience.
In “Variation Now” Kate McKenna plays with photographic verisimilitude, using her exquisite receptivity, wild enthusiasm and masterful technique to make new art. The photographs depict something we know, but don’t know. They challenge us and help us to be present, accept and actually glory in the mystery. It is a contemplation of change and strange beauty. She does not unveil the secret, she explicitly documents it.
ATENCIÓN, San Miguel de Allende, June 15th, 2012