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Review: Thomas Kennaugh at PDNB Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 8, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Through August 3, 2013


Thomas Kennaugh's exhibition with PDNB marks the artist's first solo show Texas. Kennaugh's work seems to be a pulling together of a personal and collective set of experiences. Kennaugh studied art and anthropology in Washington State, and earned a BA in Anthropology at Eastern Washington University before settling in Columbus, Ohio to establish himself as an artist. Kennaugh worked and devoloped his style and also acted as a go-between dealing and promoting work by Outsider Artists as well as 19th and 20th Century Photography. This was the beginning of his attraction to vernacular photography; he both collected it and incorporated it into his work. Further steps into the process of collage and painting were sparked by his discovery of Stanley Twardowicz, a noted Abstract Expressionist painter, and photographer based in Long Island and his study of the photographic process under photographer James Friedman reinforced his interest in photography.

This layered history certainly has been influential on Kennaugh's style. Images are combinations of many, many found elements. The works are often over-populated with figures, layers and layersof figures. Forms build and grow and individuals or their parts become bodies that surround or find themselves incorportated into strange machines, heads, or androids. Twisting gears are made of humanity and other recognizable or generic parts. Some of the machines seem to be exposition models, like Untitled of a three-story skull on a stage with scaffolded staircases leading up to it and well-dressed foks meandering around its base, some are perhaps grand inventions with supposed operators posing on railings and 

staircases, as in Transformers, and others like Drone Station seem to be war-machines. Maps reappear and speak to eras of legacy even control. Religious themes too emerge in some mapping images as well as more centrally in other works, like Fame which features a series of Christs holding guitars in crucifixion pose without a cross. The works have been allied by some with the Steampunk style, a visual aesthetic that celebrates the fantasy world of "Victorian Futurism."

For more information on the exhibition, please visit PDNB Gallery

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