Lisa Kimberlyfern (2014)

Of the titans of fine art photography, Jeff Wall is one of my favorites. I remember seeing Milk for the first time and being just blown the fuck away by its simple audacity.

In the early to mid-90s, Wall deviated from his more straigh-photography-as-occasion-for-excess-&-spectacle approach and began experimenting with photomontage. The results were completely unexpected–rendering worlds appearing simultaneously hyper real & computer generated; the perspective not quite right but not obviously wrong either; a projecting of the fact that there are seams but as soon as looking for them they scurry from sight.

I see similarly simple audacity in lisakimberly’s effect wizardry enhanced self-portraits. (There’s a bit of 3cmlin there, as well.)

Admittedly, that may not be obvious. Both Wall and Yung Cheng Lin employ a blank for the audience to fill in as they see fit. In the case of the former, it’s a narrative insinuation (settings, props, characters), whereas in the latter everything points to either a perverse visual pun or explicit insinuation towards which every element of the image points.

Kimberly’s images are possessed with a similar feeling that the individual elements reference a sum greater than their parts and there is a sense of a very specifically felt and experienced vision.

However, there’s an absence of cues that might allow the viewer to parse what that larger understanding of the work might entail. Yes, there are exquisite colors, subtle, nuanced effects (check how her face is completely in shadow, yet you can still see the crown of her head through the halo) and a beautiful woman.

In other words, Kimberly has a painters feeling color and and a careful eye for detail. At the same time, her photos granted a glimpse into something which feels like a complete, autonomous world; yet, given the image there is little offered other than an assurance that it exists and exists elegantly.

Very strong work from a young, entirely self-taught photographer. You’d do well to familiarize herself with her efforts.

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