past exhibition

Jessica M. Kaufman

 

JESSICA M. KAUFMAN
Panopticon

April 8 - May 23, 2011

 

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The images in Jessica Kaufman's "Panopticon" series of photographs are beautiful, yet haunting, particularly when one is unaware of the context. The ominous quality becomes more pronounced when the viewer learns that they are taken on the grounds of Nazi concentration camps.

The title refers to a prison structure which allows unknown observation of those being watched, which meshes with the artist's own description of herself as an "astute observer, rather than a documentarian". Indeed, rather than documenting the horrors of the past with graphic imagery, Jessica uses her traditional landscape theme to show the natural world bearing witness to atrocities and "fusing indeterminate disturbance with transcendent beauty".

Jessica uses Polaroid Type 55 film to make the traditional silver gelatin prints, a technique which yields more subtle and painterly effects when the chemical is left on the negative, where it patterns, develops crystals, and eats away at the original image. This result is mysterious, even somewhat disorienting, making it difficult to place the image in time and inviting closer contemplation.

Jessica received her BA from Yale University and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been included in numerous permanent collections, exhibitions and publications. She currently lives and works in New York City.

All photographs are gelatin silver prints in either 20" x 24" or 30" x 40" formats in editions of six prints each.

Review

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Images © Jessica M. Kaufman