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Irene Kung
at Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico 
Recommendation by Michael Abatemarco 


Irene Kung, ''Ulvio Umbro,'' 2010, 48 x 48''.

 

Continuing through June 2, 2012


It is due to the singular beauty of Irene Kung’s subjects that her work transcends landscape or cityscape photography. In “Gli Alberi” (The Trees), the focus on examples of individual tree species, and the deliberate blacking out of surrounding features lends her work a mystical power. “Ulvio Umbro,” was shot in daylight, but the darkness around the tree places it in an in-between time akin to twilight. Every feature of the lone tree is captured in sharp detail while attributes of the landscape it inhabits nearly vanish in darkness. The effect of Kung’s digital manipulations lends this portrait vivid presence.

 

“Palma Rosa” has a different, more ghostly feeling, awash in more spectral light. One might mistake the imagery in Kung’s photographs for pure computer generated graphics, so intense are the features of her subjects. Not only does she transform how we see these images of trees, but she transforms their nature, allowing them to speak to us as though from some deep place or from the past.


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