Even philosophers disagree on what it is: Is space an entity unto itself? An entity between one object and another? Some part of a conceptual fabric of ideas? I think it can be all of these.
repositioning the photograph by constructing structures in space. Although many of the questions that I was asking about the photographic image are not dissimilar from those that artists in New York were asking. I was working in a very different context in California—also, I am a bit older than them. Even though my Construct series ultimately points back to the conceptual question of the construction of the photograph, it is less concerned with the state of media than with material.
LH: I love that Agnes Martin comes to mind too, the deep contemplation that her work emanates—which is also a part of your work. I look forward to the ICA exhibition to be able to spend time in front of your many bodies of work. As in Agnes Martin’s work, there is a lifelong engagement with some aspect of geometry, or with the body’s limits—
LH: Or with time. Can we go into this more ethereal space? I’m curious how you would describe these questions, or desires, that call you to continue to construct your compositions with the same interest in line or using the same materials.
BK: Even though the same material may appear in several bodies of work, its role is different in each one. I first used the fiberglass screen, for instance, in the Photogenic Painting photograms (1974–76). The inherent properties of the screen produced moiré patterns that are ephemeral and beautiful—the antithesis of an industrial building fabric meant to cover windows, which has an obviously practical purpose, not an aesthetic one. When I used it again in 2010, in Scenes, it had a relationship to theatrical lighting projections. In each situation, I learn something about the material that encourages me to explore it further.
As far as the intellectual questions that propel me, there might be some that I ask of myself or of the material. However, mine is more of an intuitive process. In the recent work, my underlying question is whether it is possible to make an abstract photograph. The camera requires a subject. I avoid representational objects and select clear acrylic planes that block light and therefore create shadow.
Geometry is also a vehicle for me. I hope it doesn’t sound frivolous to say geometry is in every aspect ofmy life. I am a terrible perfectionist, fromthe arrangement of objects in my home, to the precision I attempt to achieve in my work. I’m trying to stay true to who I am. I simply do what my gut tells me to do and it happens to feel good when I get to a juncture of ideas that resonate for me. They all seem to happen to have some similarity as I go on.
LH: I see a quite beautiful thread throughout the work—it might come from a place that doesn’t necessarily need to be described. I appreciate that you protect that. I wouldn’t say that to have an inquiry in one’s work means you have to have a formula, a set idea, or some type of structured path.
BK: I envy people who have a vision that can be isolated as a certain concept and follow it. Sol LeWitt is an artist I admire for his consistency in various forms, from painting to sculpture. He sticks with it.
LH: I want to ask you a little bit more on geometry. One of the series that I’m drawn to is Studio Constructs (2007). Maybe this is because of my own work, since I have an interest in exploring geometry. I love that it pushes back onto the camera. I’m looking at a gorgeously composed photograph; it’s balanced and is showingme these principles that also make the image possible, if that makes sense. It’s not addressing chemistry, which also makes it visible, but the principles—the mirroring effect, the refraction of light embedded within the tool of the analog camera. There’s a
left: TRANSPOSITION 8, 2014, Fujiflex digital print, 60 × 48 inches.
opposite: TRANSPOSITION 7, 2014, Fujiflex digital print, 60 × 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Bortolami, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.