Von Lintel Gallery | Los Angeles

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present new photograms from San Francisco based artist Klea McKenna. The exhibition marks the artist’s third solo presentation with the gallery.

In Generation, McKenna applies her method of “photographic rubbings” to textiles from the last 150 years. These unique photograms are made in total darkness by embossing the textured surfaces of handmade women’s clothing onto light-sensitive paper that is then exposed to raking light. This process subverts photography’s reliance on sight and instead depends on touch and pressure to reveal the nuances of these objects beyond what can be seen. Her process of applying pressure - even to the point of the textile’s disintegration - is driven by her desire for haptic communication with women from a generation other than her own.

Textiles have a rich legacy of touch - from the labor of their maker to signs of wear. With every use, alteration or mending, someone has inscribed themselves onto these textiles. Just as each handmade garment was made through the patient labor of one woman’s body, so it is undone that way, worn down slowly over time.

For McKenna, this process is a poetic form of study, simultaneously an inquiry into what one can learn from a physical object - history having inscribed itself into the material - and an acknowledgment of how little one can know from a distance. Through ample research about each garment McKenna seeks to find a fracture, an insight that allows her to re-animate these objects and illuminate them from anew from her vantage point. When amassed, this deluge of imagery becomes a visual history not of the textiles themselves, but of the changing notions of femininity and cultural appropriation.

“McKenna’s works are vestiges of moments, of understated, oft-ignored phenomena. More vivid than anything else in the image are the textile’s loose threads; they dance like blind-contour drawings with no referent, appearing as white as a full moon against a night sky. And, like the same moon, with such contrast to all that surround it, it’s hard to tell if these threads are present or absent.”
–Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly, Art Practical

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. Her work has been exhibited at the 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.

 

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present Trust in Me – an exhibition of new work by Brooklyn based artist, Michael Waugh. The exhibition marks the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery.

Michael Waugh's beautiful drawings are composed entirely out of tiny, handwritten words copied by the artist over months of meticulous labor. The result is an elegant filigree of written lines, which coalesce into representational images. This calligraphic technique has its roots in the ancient tradition of micrography – but the artist pushes the limits. Waugh copies by hand bureaucratic documents and theoretical treatises that are difficult to read, dense with specialized knowledge and research. The images Waugh presents in this exhibition are pastoral and melodramatic. There is something deeply sincere and reverential in Waugh’s intensive process. Yet that intensity continually rubs up against his absurd humor, turning his own efforts into something Kafkaesque.

The dense texts that Waugh copies by hand contain ideas that cannot be simplified into 140 characters for social media or condensed into a one page summary. In fact, by caligraphically twisting these texts into images that are poetic and fraught, he resists simplicity, reminding us that context, history, and intention always exist outside of a text. Understanding demands knowing and considering more, not less.

The texts referenced in this exhibition range from a report on election tampering to analyses of economic oversight – all of which point to the sly humor of the exhibition’s title: “Trust in Me.” The most ambitious drawing in the exhibition, The Unraveling, shows a fallen horse, who looks on in distress, seemingly needing to communicate a message to a boy who rides off on another horse towards a house on a hill. In The Challenge and Best Practices birds appear to have a message to pass along, but the dogs who listen don’t quite know how to respond. The smallest works in the show portray men staring longingly and illicitly at each other. It’s a narrative from a closeted generation, a less tolerant world. These men are crafted out of the words of economist Milton Friedman, perhaps implying a logical slippage between laissez faire economics and personal freedom. When it gets down to it, Waugh’s work always turns on such slippages – such equivocations. We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear. Facts be damned.

Michael Waugh was born in Cambridge, MA. He earned his graduate degree in painting from New York University in 2000; but he also has degrees in writing from Texas State University and history from the University of Texas. He has exhibited internationally for the last eighteen years and his work has been reviewed by the New York Times, Art in America and ARTNews. He is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Several of the works in this exhibition were created with the support of The Galveston Artist Residency, The Wassaic Project, and The MacDowell Colony

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