Encircling the absent body in Taryn Knetemans
Everyday Rituals (survival tactics)
Muscular fibres gather in a knot, wood grain grown close. Barely the space of a breath for oxygen to travel along, fuelling the alchemical reaction
Taryn Kneteman traces these narrow pathways in a new body of work, Everyday Rituals (survival tactics). Veined with light, these images conjure a palpable, tactile edge. Rough bark sealed beneath the surface of the photograph - the notched branch held by the eye. The artist communicates through a semaphore of objects suspended in a kind of gradual combustion. The enclosed circularity which renders these forms solid is threatened with temporal collapse. Like the distance between arterial walls, time appears compressed into tree rings - almost touching. Knetemans work chronicles states of transformation, opposite sides of the present nearly visible. Can these anticipatory elegies be construed as coping mechanisms? Where is loss located on this continuum, where everything is change? The photographic pause offers relics from the already-past. The chain of tiny fires initiated by the artist are both pulse and signal.
Da Vinci believed that the heart was of such density that fire could scarcely destroy it.
Kneteman applies flame to wood and metal in a process of elemental collaboration. Four large format photographs - First Fragment, Right About Now, Space maker time capsule, swallow me whole and the eponymous Everyday Rituals (survival tactics) present viewers with the cooling body. The shape of branches remain while their materiality is utterly changed, a crystalline substitution ledger of carbon. In completing this cycle, the artist references historical methodologies of mark making. Bone black and graphite: materials intimate of the body, interlocking. Ash particulate anoints itself upon the temple with the repeated gesture of hair brushed absently from the eye. The kinesthetic work of drawing is a process of perpetual return. The circuit of the arm closing against a surface. Less direct are the remains exhibited through these images evidence of a process set in motion by the artist, liberating materials to perform according to their own innate laws, invisible ligature of heat and matter. Foil folds back against itself in a silvering nest. Mercurial quickening of the breath
The photograph preserves the image against scattering exhalation.
The heart shuts,
The sea slides back,
The mirrors are sheeted.
In Knetemans video piece, Breathing, the ephemerally enclothed air gives way. Breath that catches tears, pulling the translucent plastic sheet into a roadmap of peaks and creases. By wrapping the wind in this makeshift shroud or winding cloth, the artist measures the tidal nature of breath. A hushed choreography creeps across the light-infused surface. Light is held even as the surrounding air cannot be. What sacramental substrate comprises this absenting body? The eye rests as the middle distance softens and the view becomes less objective. The artist exposes to us the clouded membrane of an inner vision, concealed channels running through the trees core vascular cambia swollen with mystery. The unseen, shining center surfacing
- Jenna Swift
Joseph, Eve. Arrhythmia. The Secret Signature of Things. London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2010.
Plath, Sylvia. Contusion. Ariel. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1965.