Gold Circle Showcase | Klea McKenna, Automatic Earth

  • Marina Syrmakezi

A slice of time and space

​“There is the surface. Now think – or rather feel, intuit what is beyond it, what the reality must be like if it looks this way. Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation and fantasy.” Susan Sontag, On Photography
Seeing is something we do, and we evolve our visual perception by learning how to do it. The act of seeing however is precisely what we make of what we see. Klea McKenna set herself on a mission to discover if it is possible to create visual imprints of experience and to physically capture nature. And she has done so very elegantly!
Automatic Earth is a series of camera-less photographs, an intuitive exploration of human emotional experience in relation to nature. An array of patterns, shadows and textures that allow ‘seeing’ to merge with the sense of touch and space. These photographic images are transcending time fragments, open to contemplation. A consonant of small units of a captured reality that has the ability to reverse the act of touch into seeing. A thin slice of time and space.
It is a body of work that sparkles curiosity. From an observer’s point of view, the depicted subject matter still is instantly recognisable, but it leaves room for further inspection. The work invites you to look closer, look from afar, follow the wood trails and let your eye follow the circle lines and just imagine. It is work that can revive memories and feelings we have all experienced at some point in time when coming closer to nature. These unique prints are recordings of an action. Similar in principle to that of an abstract performative representation, where act marries the ritual.
With the use of simple materials, such as light-sensitive paper and handmade tools, Klea makes outdoor photographs and “photographic rubbings”. These are hand-embossed imprints of earth, concrete and cross-sections of trees - what she sees as “blueprints” that exist within nature. A process she developed over the years of making night-time photograms on location. An impression of an outdoor surface is first hand-embossed onto light-sensitive paper during the dark of night. Then it is exposed by flashlights to fix the inscribed textures.
In some cases, multiple impressions are collaged together to yield fictional forms and large-scale installations. By detaching from the conventions and limitations of traditional cameras and negatives.
All images: ©Klea McKenna
Words: Marina Syrmakezi


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