Christina Kerns: but like forever

Christina Kerns

Christina Kerns

but like forever

March 1 – 24, 2019

Christina Kerns

Tucker at Night Lenticular photographs 10″ x 8″ 2019

EXHIBITION ESSAY BY KATE ABERCROMBIE

Recently a friend asked if I collected rocks. My answer was no, but immediately I wished I had, thinking of a lost rock I had picked up years ago in Maine that was exactly palm size. Their question was generous, a potential invitation to visit a place that has natural glow-in-the-dark rocks. In the quick exchange, the idea of collecting rocks took on two meanings: a search for a unique rock to live with and preserve, and the rock as a device to hold a memory or experience.

jack-4web

        Jack, Plastic jewels on adhesive 17” x 23”  2018

In Christina Kerns’s exhibition but like forever, she fills the gallery with images/objects that celebrate collecting. Kerns captures images and objects from her life, like a portrait of her dog, a grouping of rabbit’s feet, and landscapes visited. The base criteria for the collection of works in the show are that they are personal, accessible and fleeting. Kerns provides the viewer entry into the works by referencing known modes of display of collections with the use of shadow boxes, as well as tourist trap kitsch and popular craft with lenticular images and beaded portraits.

Like in previous work, Kerns looks to how the images she collects can trigger emotional responses and construct identity. In all of the works on view, she transforms the images and objects from their source with a variety of techniques. By overlapping images and adding abstract filters her photographs explore legibility and narrative gestures. Hours beading serve as an act of devotion, and the crystallization of objects is reminiscent of relics. Once complete the beaded portraits and  crystalized objects also point to bedazzling and glitter craft projects. Each addition and abstraction to the source material are experiments in preservation, levity, and elevation.

Kerns also relies on formal image compositional devices in her approach to making. Hanging and framing apparatus and substrates are not passive in the works, but serve as tools in image creation. Velvet and colored paper that absorbs light, line the shadowboxes creating a relationship between the objects and the backdrop. The beaded portraits and lenticular pictures are framed in black, defining the edges of the works and directing the viewer inwards cinematically. Treating dimensional objects as images provides Kerns a level of risk-taking within a self-imposed structure.

a dare I scream into a fern

Artist book collaboration by writer Lauren Genovesi and photographer Christina Kerns

Christina Kerns and writer Lauren Genovesi are debuting a new collaborative artist book, having met while on residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2017. The book a dare I scream into a fern came about post-residency through the sharing of images and ideas. The two play with paper size shifts and transparency to abstract and integrate their text and photographs.


About the Artist: Christina Kerns is a new media artist working in photography, animation, net art and printed matter. She received her BFA in photography with a minor in art history from Pratt Institute and an MFA in interdisciplinary art from the University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign. Her work incorporates ideas of individuality, socially constructed value systems and individual and cultural history. She is an Assistant Professor at Lincoln University, of PA and lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. She has exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, London, Berlin, Australia and San Francisco.

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