I seek to invoke a sense of surprise or contradiction through the consideration of photographs that occupy liminal spaces between artifice and truth, imagination and the real, and mimesis and the origin. The objects that I photograph are mined from the natural world, nature kitsch, and feminine stereotypes. I define kitsch in terms of its 19th-century Victorian roots, as myth or melancholic curiosities that simultaneously evoke desire and comfort while masking denial and loss. I think of nature kitsch as objects that attempt to mimic the blooming beauty of nature, while virtually eliminating the process of decay from the natural world.
Once each still life is lit and photographed, I continue the work in a digital darkroom, such as Adobe Photoshop. I use adjustment layers to explore color transformation, merging the reality of the photographed still life with an imagined space where color runs wild. Digital transformations are endless and can just as easily be undone. My printed photographs are often cut and taped to the wall and rephotographed. In that sense, my work embodies the natural cycles of change: perpetually unfolding, and in a permanent state of suspense. Through these iterations, I both celebrate and question relationships between femininity, repression, beauty, nature, and loss.
All images copyright Kelda Van Patten