Through February 16, 2013
Michael Kenna is known for his idyllic vistas, his tranquil landscapes. His work in Asia has been particularly celebrated. This exhibition does well to include these works: mirrored lakes in Guilin, China; mountain peeks in Anhui, China; and the Sadakichi Docks of Hokkaido, Japan, but we are pleasantly surprised to see that the exhibition goes beyond. Works that pre and post-date the Asian imagery give context to the breadth of Kenna's work and process. Many images are architectural and we experience Kenna's dedication to structure and balance with more awareness. His focus on cities, buildings, bridges, and other known landmarks allows us to appreciate the length Kenna goes to to create his images. While the quiet serene affect achieved by Kenna seems almost inherent in the landscapes of Asia, it is the contrary with more inhabited, even charged local like the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco; the main hall of Grand Central Station, NYC; the gardens of Versailles, France; or the waterways of Portofino, Italy. These images are gems indeed, and perhaps actually speak more to the practice and working philosophy of Kenna than the pinnacle work in Asia for which he is most renowned. True, poetics are at their peek, but to see these usually bustling local so calm, so quiet, so serene makes us experience Kenna's work anew and look back through his entire oeuvre with refreshed eyes. We desire to see our own world through chaos. We seek to recline into the calm poetic space Kenna's long exposures allow and even pause in an effort to slow the space we find ourselves in.
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