Michael Kenna

January 8 — March 1, 2003


Michael Kenna is among the preeminent landscape photographers working today, commenting on the relationship between humans and their environment without representing the human form itself. His travels have drawn him to Japan in recent years, where he found inspiration in the diverse landscapes of this ancient country: lines of traditional temple roofs; the watchful gaze of religious statuary; webbed patterns of fishing nets drifting along the shoreline; the stark procession of fenceposts against frozen ground. This exhibition is the first public viewing of Kenna's new works, offering a comprehensive overview of his elegiac vision of Japan.

Michael Kenna composes his tranquil images most often during the hushed hours of night or by the first light of dawn. His exquisitely printed photographs are rooted in the pictorialist tradition yet informed by a deft eye for abstraction, prompting profound introspection on the part of the viewer. Joanna Pitman of The London Times praises Kenna for being "reflective when others have been militant, romantic when others have been skeptical. Such isolation can starve all but the most independent of talents, but for these it can provide a sanctuary where visions can develop undisturbed. Kenna is one of these."

Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, England in 1953. He completed studies at The London College of Printing in 1976 and began to photograph in Oxfordshire and the English countryside. His photographs have since been exhibited extensively in the international community and are included in numerous public collections, including The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris; The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Kenna's recent publications include Night Work (Nazraeli Press, 2000), Impossible To Forget (Nazraeli Press, 2001), and Easter Island (Nazraeli Press, 2001).