Divine Animals | R. J. Kern

Divine Animals | R. J. Kern

Veronique Wantz Gallery is pleased to announce its first ever photography exhibition, featuring a solo show of local artist R. J. Kern's photographs.

Divine Animals opens on March 8th and presents highlights in a mini-retrospective format with projects by Kern including: Divine Animals: The Bovidae; The Unchosen OnesThe Best of the Best; and The Last Fair, Kern's newest series.

Kern's portraits focus on intimate, interdependent relationships of people, animals and landscape as a means of exploring how ancestry shapes identity and how myth intertwines with personal history.  Archival pigment prints, tintypes and salt prints draw sharper connections between modern and traditional farming routines, as Kern adopts both current and historical photographic processes.

A selection of monographs featuring Kern's work will also be available and include: The Sheep and the Goats (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) and The Unchosen Ones: Portraits of an American Pastoral (MW Editions, 2021).

“Kern’s evocation of nature as a device to understand his own sense of self draws upon historical precedence: the use of animals as metaphor and the pastoral tradition. Yet the artist’s broad concept— his exploration of identity—is firmly grounded in a contemporary context. This tightly knit series of images, which together characterize the author, is common to our age of social media. Kern’s aesthetic, however, emphasizes clarity and projects a warm stillness that is a balm to an overstimulated society. This contrast too—the ties to digital media and the rejection of its characteristics—deepens this pastoral project. Yes, it is a photograph of a goat, but it is also more than that. Just as man’s relationship with the animal world is multifaceted, so too is Kern’s work.”– From the introduction by Lisa Volpe, Associate Curator of Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, of The Sheep and The Goats

About the Artist:

R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art (Tbilisi), the National Portrait Gallery (London), and the Yixian International Photo Festival (Anhui, China), among others, and in solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA) and the Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND).  

Gallery Hours: 

Fridays 11-3 + Saturdays 11-4 and by appointment 

Image: (Detail) R. J. Kern, Hazel, Geiranger Fjord, Norway, archival pigment print, 39" x 52" (Artist Proof) 

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