Artist Statement

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 subjects that I photograph are mined from the natural world and kitsch. 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. For example, I think of artificial flowers, fruit, and plants as kitsch objects that attempt to mimic the blooming beauty of nature, while virtually eliminating the process of decay from the natural world.

Through the use of layers and transformation, I merge the ‘reality’ of the photograph with an imagined space. 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 photographic iterations, I reflect on relationships between nature and kitsch.

All images copyright Kelda Van Patten