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MONA KUHN: Bordeaux    Apr 20 - Jun 8, 2012


Jackson Fine Art is thrilled to present two solo exhibitions by Mona Kuhn and William Christenberry. The tie that binds these two seemingly foreign bodies of work is one of deep nostalgia for moments past and the preservation of memory around place.

The setting for Mona Kuhn’s latest series, Bordeaux, is the artist’s rustic country home in France, where she travels annually. In this house is a room with red patterned fabric on the walls and a single chair. Mona focuses on the simple beauty of the human body and the spirit of her subjects fills the room. As with her previous series, Kuhn depicts her friends and family in a familiar place- whether it be her home in the South of France or her native country of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She allows her sitters to pose themselves and only uses the natural light streaming in from the double doors to her back. The photographs themselves serve as mementos, richly evoking the atmosphere and essence of her rustic and stripped down surroundings. Kuhn writes, “The photographs are similar to bread crumbs that I throw on the path to help me memorize a way back to this place and these emotions.”

Kuhn was born in Brazil in 1969. She studied at Ohio State University, the San Francisco Art Institute, and The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Her work is held in many private and public collections including, Sir Elton John, Allen Thomas, Jr., Paul Allen, SFMoma, and Schwarz Fine and Contemporary Art, Berlin. In 2011, her work was exhibited at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, the Royal Academy of Art in London, Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, and the Australian Center for Photography in Sydney. Bordeaux (Steidl, 2011) is Kuhn’s fourth monograph following Photographs (Steidl, 2004), Evidence (Steidl, 2007), and Native (Steidl, 2010). Kuhn currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

In Working from Memory, William Christenberry revisits rural Hale county Alabama, where he spent much of his childhood, as well as the surrounding counties to document the ever-changing face of the south. These yearly trips serve as a means to resurrect emotion through the places that captivate him, particularly warped houses, structures, and historical relics.

Although he does not photograph people, the human touch is ever-present in his subject matter of vernacular architecture and in the decay itself—each photograph telling epic tales of what once was. Christenberry strongly identifies with the need to preserve and pass things on through art. He writes, “I think that oftentimes art can make an outsider look back on something he has never been pat of, and make him feel like he has always been part of it.” Working from Memory is Christenberry’s first book devoted to written storytelling, a popular southern tradition of remembering, acknowledging, and paying homage to experience.

William Christenberry was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1936. In addition to color photography, he works in sculpture, painting, drawing, and assemblage. His work has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. In 1996, Christenberry had two major retrospectives at The Morris Museum of Art in Augusta and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. In recent years, he has had solo exhibitions at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C., Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, Sammlung in Cologne, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. His work is included in many public and private collections, including the High Museum of Art, the Menil Collection, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Christenberry currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. He has been a professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design since 1968.

Mona Kuhn and William Christenberry share the same romantic ideas for the revitalization of memories through photographs. In Kuhn’s case, she takes the nostalgia of the landscape and ties the atmosphere and feeling through the depiction of individuals passing through. Christenberry, on the other hand, is the individual passing through and depicts the nostalgia he feels through the landscape itself. This will mark Christenberry’s third and Kuhn’s fourth exhibition at Jackson Fine Art.

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