Kathryn Cornelius

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Reach, 2006

Cibachrome print face-mounted to Plexiglas and back-mounted to black Plexiglas, x 20 x 30", Duration Variable


In the photographic series, Reach, Cornelius wanders through lush, rain-damp woods, clutching a can phone - that old improvised children's toy in which string carries sound vibrations between two tin cans, each of which acts as both transmitter and receiver. She alternately appears either yelling into one end of the device, or intently holding it to her ear, listening, all the while dragging the other end through the under-brush. Here Cornelius mimics a typical cell phone user, completely disengaged from her surroundings while rapt in what appears like a one-sided conversation. Yet Cornelius is ironically trying - and failing - to use this device to connect directly with nature itself.

Cornelius creates photographic diptychs, pairing images that differ from one another only slightly. These could read as successive film stills - a black border definitively separates one image from the next. But when she pairs photos, Cornelius typically reverses one, as in Reach #4, so that the two become mirror images. Instead of a linear narrative, the reversed image sets up an abstracted, circular relation. This distracts the viewer from definite spans of time or events; the performance is accordingly not about endurance or duration - as performance so often is - but about an elusive state of being."

- Jeffry Cudlin, Common Ground - Solo Exhibition Essay, 2007

Artworks by Kathryn Cornelius

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