My work engages the materiality of analogue photography to explore perceptions of natural phenomena and the photograph’s ability to either confirm or disarm those perceptions. I use hand-made cameras, outdoor photograms, and methods of folding film and paper to create sculptural images and photographic installations. My process is informed by the strategies of field biology and homespun science; each experiment leads me to the next. This exploratory approach often transforms the subject, yielding unexpected images that refer to location only through light and form. I attempt to push the capacity of light sensitive materials to record an encoded imprint of a place, rather than a strictly representational image. Through this physical interaction between place and medium, the microcosms and macrocosms of familiar places become a strange, even abstracted terrain.
The installation was born of an interest in prolonged, intense observation of natural cycles. During WWII soldiers were deployed to man several anti-aircraft lookout posts along the California coast. All day and night they looked west, watching the horizon over the Pacific Ocean for signs of enemy planes. Instead, these men became unlikely observers of the sea and sky. They saw the light change and must have watched hundreds of sunsets. The 44 images in this installation are pieces of color photographic paper that were folded into a paper airplanes and then exposed to the coastal light over a period of twelve hours. Together, they are a record of one day of observation, dawn till dusk.
Klea McKenna (San Francisco, CA) received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2009, and later taught photography there as well at the University of California at Davis. Her work has been exhibited at Haines Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Jen Bekman Gallery (New York, NY), and a site-specific installation at Theatre Artaud (San Francisco, CA) among others. Her photographs and reviews of her work have appeared in publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Critic ATL, and Art Practical. In 2012, she was a resident artist at the Oxbow School and also conducted a visiting artist lecture there in 2011. In 2010 she was the recipient of Hey Hot Shot’s curator’s choice award, chosen by Lesley Martin, editor at Aperture Books.