"Nine years ago, when I set down my camera and left straight photography I was looking for a kind of visual freedom. I was hoping for alchemy rather than the replication that photography was designed for. The analog photographic materials I use – the unique limitations and capabilities of light-sensitive paper – led me to photograms and to a new way of reading the universe. With a desire to record an imprint - rather than a picture of a place - I devise ways that light-sensitive materials can interact directly with elements of an ecosystem. The work itself has provided an unlikely prescription for both how to experience the landscape and how to generate evidence of what I’ve felt there. I use a variety of crude strategies: outdoor photograms made at night, and methods of rubbing and folding photographic paper to create sculptural images and installations. I almost always work ‘blind’, in total darkness. These methods feel simultaneously like reading braille, like praying and like gambling. Risk, faith, and touching something unknowable are all part of my practice." – KM
Klea McKenna is a visual artist whose work has been shown and published internationally at venues such as SFMOMA, Datz Museum of Art Korea, The Museum of Photographic Arts and the Hecksher Museum, NY. Her photograms are held in the collection of the SFMOMA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the US Embassy. Klea is represented by Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles. In addition to her own art practice, she was co-founder and photographer at IN THE MAKE an online arts journal that published studio visits and interviews with over 120 West Coast artists from 2011 to 2015. She is the daughter of renegade ethnobotanists, Kathleen Harrison and Terence McKenna. Klea lives in San Francisco with her husband and their young daughter.