Inspired by today’s hyper-abundance of visual information, I am treating imagery from disparate sources as transmutable raw material. Intermixing my own photographs with elements from popular as well as historical sources conjures up unsettling entities and strange scenarios. Relics from our communal pictorial archive are commingled with contemporary images, tipped over, mashed up, and pushed back – creating jumps through space and time and echoing the startling juxtapositions of today’s visual culture.
The characters that emerge from this process find themselves in locales ranging from ‘Siri Paiboun’s Bedroom’ in Vientiane to ‘The Garden of Sergeant Carlos Tejada’ in Granada, and in times ranging from WWI London (‘Escape From the Lab’) to 1930’s Los Angeles (‘Marlowe’s Mistake’) to present-day ‘Ibiza’. ‘Ostara’ and ‘Khidr’ harken back to religious figures from ancient eras, while ‘Dr. Who’s Girlfriend’ has arrived from outside of time. ‘Our Lady of the Harbor’ has escaped pre-disaster Pompeii on a mission to contemporary Los Angeles, while the denizen of ‘Tipping Point’ floats languidly in a Bedouin tent that has no floor, and apparently no gravity.
As diverse images converge and give rise to outlandish creatures and enigmatic settings, the ‘Women of Mystery’ lead the ‘Detectives of Fiction’ on a merry chase.
I have always been intrigued by apparent inconsistencies in time and space, and by each individual’s shifting sense of reality. As I fracture and reassemble photographs to suggest the intrusion of alternate worlds, everyday images are transformed into compositions that hint at mysterious underlying structures and intangible extra dimensions.
Incorporating vintage record album covers into my process adds diverse textures and elements from popular culture, and even more importantly, provides a wide range of bizarre inspirational springboards.
Combining my photographs with the album covers takes me in unexpected directions. Relics from our communal visual archive are overlaid with contemporary images, creating jumps through space and time. With each Cover Version I hope to suggest that separate dimensions have indeed collided.
In New Orleans in 1857 a newly formed secret society, the Mistick Krewe of Comus, began the tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras with a torch-lit procession of extravagantly designed floats. My current project, Mistick Krewes, is an homage to the rich jumble of that city’s overlapping cultures and the still perceptible aura of its tempestuous history. Since its founding in 1718, New Orleans’ cultural, political and natural landscapes have been continually invaded and eroded, bought and sold, enriched and transformed.
A visitor to New Orleans might pass through districts, buildings and gardens that exhibit the intertwining of centuries of Native American, Spanish, French, African and American influences. City streets are named for Greek muses, native tribes and 18th-century French nobility. Surrounding swamplands are swallowed by encroaching gulf waters. The atmosphere is charged with an air of mystery, a strange sense of desire, and a whiff of something hazily remembered, beckoning from just around the next corner. It is a place where history is revered, and where it can sometimes be ‘mistickally’ re-experienced.
In these works I am combining my photographs with images from the internet, print media and old photo albums. Adding layer upon layer, revisiting each composition again and again, I am working toward scenarios that compel even as they may mislead. Interweaving elements from nature, history and contemporary culture conjures up landscapes populated with plants, wildlife, and otherworldly beings, evoking lost cultures and the Mardi Gras costumes that celebrate them.
The Taxidermists Imaginarium
Dunlevie has always been intrigued by apparent inconsistencies in time and space, and by each individual’s unique and shifting sense of what is real. As she fractures and intermixes her photographs, everyday scenes are transformed into scenarios that hint at overlapping realities.
In 'The Taxidermist’s Imaginarium' she is creating photo-montages by combining images of nature, zoos, natural history museums and botanical gardens with images of contemporary urban settings. The works suggest disruptions in space and time and the strange bedfellows these disruptions create.
As she adds layer upon layer, interweaving elements from the natural world with images from artificial and constructed worlds, animal harbingers materialize in anomalous locations. These new arrivals seem stunned to find themselves in alien surroundings - disoriented, mistrustful, even forlorn - reminding us that, although natively distant strangers, we are all connected and face a rapidly changing world together.
Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Houston, TX, United States
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA, United States
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA, United States
I have always been intrigued by apparent inconsistencies in time and space, and by each individual’s unique and shifting sense of reality. In my photo-based mixed media works, everyday images are transformed into compositions that hint at invisible, underlying structures and imperceptible extra dimensions.
Inspired by today's super-abundance of visual information, I am treating imagery from disparate sources as transmutable raw material. Intermixing my photos with elements from popular as well as historical sources conjures up unsettling entities and raucous scenarios. Relics from our communal visual archive are commingled with contemporary images, tipped over, mashed up, and pushed back – creating jumps through space and time and echoing the startling juxtapositions of contemporary visual culture.
Kathryn Dunlevie is a photography-based mixed media artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally. Cathy Kimball, Executive Director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, writes of Kathryn’s work: "Through brilliant compositional detail and manipulation, she creates disconcerting, surprising, inexplicable spaces and scenarios – swimming pools that have many points of entry, cloisters with multiple arched domes, streetscapes that elude mapmakers, and interior settings that are almost, but not quite right."
Dunlevie has always been intrigued by spatial and temporal inconsistencies, and by each individual’s particular and shifting sense of what is real. She fragments, reassembles, and layers photographs to suggest the intrusion of alternate worlds. Her photographs of everyday images are transformed into compositions that hint at mysterious underlying structures and intangible extra dimensions.
Born on the east coast, Dunlevie lived in six different states by the time she was 12, and in Paraguay when she was 16. She has a B.A. in fine arts from Rice University, and studied art history and film at the University of Paris, painting at California College of the Arts, and photography in Madrid. She lives in Palo Alto, California.
Dunlevie has received numerous awards and fellowships, including two Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowships in Photography. Her work has been exhibited at FotoFest International since 2002, at the Ping Yao International Photography Festival in China, in the US Art in Embassies Program in Russia, at Studio Thomas Kellner in Germany and in Saatchi Arts’ BEST OF 2014.
Her work has been reviewed in Spain’s La Fotografia Actual magazine, Korea’s Photo+ magazine, England’s Saatchi Online Spotlight and Germany’s Profifoto magazine, as well as in The New York Times, Artweek, Camerawork: A Journal of Photographic Arts, Photo Metro, Art Houston and Artlies.
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