Visitor Welcome Center presents Alexandra Pacheco Garcia, Jenny Yurshansky and Karen Lee in The Gloaming; bringing together three artists who engage with the photographic medium in the fullest sense of that word. They inhabit photographic practices that are in the thrall of the aura as described by Walter Benjamin, where the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function. The works are technical, romantic, and confound traditional lens-to-print based photography. In a variety of approaches, each of these artists has used an unusual method that nears the alchemical. It is through this way of working that each allows for a phenomenological resonance to be achieved within this medium, shrugging off the need to be bound to the realm of the real and make room to explore the notions of memory, time, and physical absence as a means of tracing personal and allegorical histories. These artists share a language of loss, an index of the disappeared, and the shadow of mourning all in a manner that is enfolded within a contemporary practice. The lacuna in the works opens a portal through which the moment of contemplation is stretched and expanded, creating a space to consider and inhabit what has come before, what will be, and what is fundamentally needed to embrace the void.
Though this triad of artists avoid the conventional lens, each cradles the idea of image making with an extraneous clarity that can only be achieved through allowing oneself to succumb to the darkness. When a loved one is lost, the world embodies and exhibits their singularity: shoveling it throughout the present, unearthing the past, while burying the future.
While the botanical realms of the earth are forcefully aligned with the needs of humans, Yurshansky continues to forage her imaginary; laying to rest her past, while petrifying her passion for the unlikely survivor who strategically traverses lush but exclusive environments. Lee’s photographs encased in beeswax, posit that an analog photo’s aura lies not in a discernible image but in it having stood witness to a particular time and place. Both Lee and Yurshansky pay homage to the massive windows and the light which they offer the space. Whereas Lee builds an altar, a photosensitive fabric sculpture that evolves with the exhibition, Yurshansky reveals the sombering effects if that light is taken away. Take it away, take faith away, and you are left with nothing; a black hole, a gaping wound in need of healing. Pacheco Garcia’s large-scale kirlian prints made from blood, oil and holy water, are cosmic touches of confidence reborn. When a trusted photographic medium that once captured love, could only show pain, Pacheco Garcia felt a deep need to realign her faith with her passion. Her illustrious results on paper begin with the artist standing alone in the dark, in the void, with nothing but fire at her fingertips and scar tissue to burn. Let there be light and then there was.
Alexandra Pacheco Garcia is an artist and educator living and working in Los Angeles, California. Alexandra received her BFA in photography from New York University and a Masters in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine. Her current project, From the Archives of Elena C, based on the life of a fictional spiritual medium and political radical living in 1970s Puerto Rico, will be featured in an upcoming solo show at The Angeles Gate Gallery in San Pedro, California in September 2016.
Born in Rome via Moldova, Jenny Yurshansky received her MFA in Visual Art from UC Irvine and participated in the post‐graduate Critical Studies course at the Malmö Art Academy. This spring she has been invited by Yiddishkayt as a guest artist in Moldova, where she will begin research on her family history, followed by a residency at Art Initiative Tokyo in the fall. Yurshansky’s forthcoming artist book will be published by Pitzer College Art Galleries in conjunction with her 2015 solo exhibition and residency, Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory. A co-founder of the art space, Persbo Studio in Sweden, Yurshansky is the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Asylum Arts, the Swedish Arts Grant Committee and the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, where she was a Guest Artist Researcher and had a solo exhibition in 2015. She was the first international artist awarded the Maria Bonnier Stipend from Bonniers Konsthall. Yurshansky’s work has been exhibited internationally in group shows at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, MAK Center, LAXART, the 7th Istanbul Biennial, the Hammer Museum, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, and the Toyota Museum in Japan.
Karen Lee (b. 1980 in Los Angeles, lives and works in Brooklyn) received her MFA from SUNY Purchase in 2014 and her BA in Art and Art History from UCLA in 2004. In September 2016, Equity Gallery will present Lee’s first solo exhibition in New York. Her work has been shown in galleries and artist-run spaces including recent group exhibitions at Vanity Projects, New York; Scott Charmin, Houston; Lilac Museum, New York; Katzen Arts Center, Washington DC; and Paredon Blanco, Los Angeles. She has organized numerous collaborative exhibitions and events including Heaven at the Silverlake Lounge (2008-09) and Not A Speakeasy (2007).