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Tatana Kellner

Tatana Kellner

EYE WITNESS

November 11 – December 20, 2000

As an artist I am concerned with the human condition both historically and in the present time. In my work I try to transcend the everyday experience in a way that will stir both my own and viewer’s emotions.

I grapple with the baggage of the accumulated information and wonder about the possibility of original vision.

I choose the medium of photography to contemplate these issues. In a culture where words are more accessible than visual images, I create photographs that bridge the gap and engage the viewer. In this age of media over saturation I seek the challenges of photographic images as a mirror of ourselves. I consciously employ non-traditional processes to break down the barriers between the work and the viewer. I am interested in images that force the viewer to suspend time and belief.

Recently I began printing images on alternative surfaces such as leaves, ceramic slabs, stones, and handmade paper as a way to actually give physical dimension to traditional black-and-white photography – the media which visually records the third dimension on a two dimensional surface. In Arcticum Lappa – Tenacious Leaves, Tenacious Memories, I placed photographs directly on burdock leaves. I am intrigued by the contrast of the leaf – an epitome of ephemera and the stubbornness of the burdock plant itself – with its forty-foot long roots – making the plant almost impossible to eradicate. In my most recent project, Eye Witness, I printed images of the eye on handmade paper shaped “stones”. The eyes are metaphors – as witnesses, harbingers of truth, premonitions, and signifiers of beauty.

TATANA KELLNER, the artistic director and co-founder of the Women’s Studio Workshop, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She began her professional career in 1974 when she graduated with a MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and moved to Rosendale. There she helped to found the Women’s Studio Workshop, a visual arts workspace offering programs for professional artists. Kellner, stimulated by the Workshop atmosphere, has worked continuously across several media including printmaking, papermaking, photography, and most recently ceramics, though her involvement with photography has been the basis for all of her work.

Tatana has been a resident fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has also been awarded residency fellowship grants from the Visual Studies Workshop, Lightwork, and the University of Southern Maine. A two-time recipient of the Photographers’ Fellowship Grants given by the New York Foundation for the Arts and Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Photographer’s Fund Fellowship, Kellner has had solo exhibits at the Goldstrom Gallery, NYC; Lake George Project for the Arts; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo; Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City; Center for Visual Arts at the University of Toledo; and at the Kirkland Arts Center Gallery, Hamilton. She received a special award from the New York State Council on the Arts to publish artists’ books about her parents’ experiences as Holocaust survivors, 711225: Fifty Years of Silence and B-11227: Fifty Years of Silence. Her work is included in the collections at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, New York Public Library, Museum of Modern Art Library, Metropolitan Museum Library, Tate Gallery Library, and the National Gallery of Art Library. In her work at WSW she serves as a curator and has taught and lectured throughout the country at the following – American Photography Institute at New York University, State University of New York at New Paltz, Feminist Art Institute of NYC, Skidmore College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Santa Cruz.

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