NATALJA KENT: MOVEMENT ARTIFACT SERIES (Ladies’ Room)

(more images and exhibition information below PRESS RELEASE)

Movement Artifact represents the intersection of Natalja Kent’s most intimate mediums: photography, research and embodiment practices. Chromogenic prints serve as artifacts of embodied performances held in solitude within the pitch-black darkroom.

In 2013, during a Jin Shin Jyutsu body-work session, Kent was advised that she needed to release an internalized fear embodied by her maternal line from generations of totalitarian and oppressive rule, most directly through her mother, an immigrant to the U.S. from an oppressive communist regime. This lead to a flood of research into various forms of embodiment techniques, including Mindful Based Stress Reduction Meditation, Feldenkrais, breath-work, Zero Balancing, Janzu, Acupuncture, singing, somatic therapy and cranial sacral therapy, with particular interest in the research of Dr. Amy Cuddy, Dr. John Kabot-Zinn and Dr. Mario Martinez, whose work with biochemistry, body movement, meditation and neuro-immunology are opening new terrain into embodiment practices.

Interwoven with this research, Kent experiments in the color darkroom, a practice she has held for twenty-one years, with a continuing thread of questioning the process, objectivity and inherent flaws of the medium. The working method in Movement Artifact includes an augmented assignment from Joseph Albers’ The Interaction of Color and an emphasis on the tertiary colors violet, blue-green and gold as building blocks for the color palate. This color technique incorporates Kent’s biological father’s drawing and color theory methods, gleaned from his class at the Rhode Island School of Design.

By bringing these aspects of research and method into her practice, Kent draws forth a body of work that questions the role of the artist’s presence, embodiment and the materiality of chromogenic paper. Large scale prints serve as traces of movement, singing, light and meditation in a private, blackened space. The final prints bring forth a sense of an open channel into an unseen realm in which the artist is active. On the surface, one can interpret the prints solely on the aesthetic plane, while further investigation reveals something uncanny at work. This space of slippage, opening and the unknown lies fixed into the silver halide surface.

Natalja Kent is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her practice investigates embodiment, movement, and materiality through the expanding parameters of photography. Research and studio-process experimentation form the foundation of her practice. Her collaborative/feminist/social practice work has included participation in groups such as Mapping, Feminist LA/Women’s Center for Creative Work, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, The Dirt Palace and The Good Good. She has exhibited and/or performed works at: Tate Liverpool, England; Carpenter Center for The Visual Arts at Harvard, Cambridge, MA; Hiromi Yoshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY.

Movement Artifact Series, an exhibition of photographs by Natalja Kent, runs through May 19, 2019.

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