Rendition in Entropy

The earth stalls in its mornings,
paused rays to a purple sun. Upon
simple death, cornflower illuminates in
muscle and tangled clots and red crystal

In the seconds a rabbit takes its final
breaths, bare feet are washed in river
water, in which opal gels take on the rock,
blood sweetens the stray fallen fruit.

To confessions of hunt, but made by no
other hunter than the hiding wormhole,
the heartbeat stills, and insects warp
into cherry rhythms, sunny molecules
bathe the animal hair; death is metallic.

// Frances Emilia, 2022, to accompany “Matter in Resonance”

Matter in Resonance presents a series of kaleidoscopic photomontages by Chicago based photographer Rebecka Öhrström Kann. Öhrström Kann’s photo-based practice applies methods from the disciplines of collage, textiles, and installation art to reveal the conventionally static photographic image as a dynamic space in flux. Inspired by the turn-of-the-century textile designs of the William Morris Company; the artist instills their compositions with undulating pattern and rhythm to evoke the perception of movement. Through the interplay of formal elements of texture, form, and color, the photomontages impart viewers with a sensory experience.

Each piece is the result of a careful process requiring hours of preparation and manual manipulation inside the artist’s home studio. They first begin by preparing frozen blocks of ice encasing organic materials at times sourced from the artist’s own compost bin. Flower petals, egg shells, and fruit rinds are suspended in ice, spilling outward onto the surface of the mirror as it melts. They photograph countless iterations of the same still life, knowing that they will only select a small number that contain the ideal arrangement of elements. Öhrström Kann then prints and slices the photographs, ranging from free-form organic shapes to tightly controlled silhouettes of flowers or plant stems, assembling the cuttings to create densely layered compositions.

The artist compares the process of crafting her photomontages to that of the decomposition undergone by the organic materials she photographs. They explain,“I’m interested in the point at which something which was once familiar is abstracted to the extent that it becomes entirely unrecognizable; breaking into smaller and smaller pieces of itself until it becomes something distinct.”

The exaggerated scale and extreme close-up of the subject allows viewers to peer at each intently as if through a microscope, rewarding both passive and active looking. Such extreme perspective at once reveals and conceals the true nature of the subject through the illusion of abstraction. Transforming what was once mundane into uncanny microcosms.

// Text and curation by Sheridyn Villarreal

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