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Natalie Christensen
Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Amanda Malloy

Natalie Christensen, "Last Night I Dreamt I Knew How to Swim," 2019, photograph on 100% Italian cotton rag paper with satin UV lamination, mounted to dibond in shadow box frame, 21 1/2 x 31 1/2"

Continuing through May 13, 2019

Swimming pools are a sign of luxury, but they also represent mystery. Submerging yourself into an underground pool, the world floats away and distorts. Pools act as a gateway to a world not quite our own, where sound, line, shape and even gravity behave differently. Natalie Christensen captures that mysterious side of swimming pools in her new collection of photographs, “Last night I dreamt I knew how to swim.” The photographs are printed on Italian cotton paper with a satin lamination, giving them a soft, highly painterly quality.

Several of the pools in the series are drained of water, and people are completely absent from the images. This creates a stillness to the photographs that heightens the enigmatic quality of the prints to an eerie level. There is no movement or disturbance in the images, or even in the water when depicted. This stillness places emphasis on formal qualities of color, shape and line. “Go Deeper” is an image that summarizes minimalistic geometric abstraction in the corner and steps of a pool played against the smooth beige surface of the pool’s outer edge. Christensen experiments with perspective and depth in “Last Night I Dreamt I Knew How to Swim,” in which the point of view is from the bottom of a pool. Our gaze focuses up towards the ladder to the outer world, with just a glimpse of the sky above in which a few floating leaves feel like they have taken flight. The photographs in this exhibition take a theme so nostalgic in its association with childhood, creating a new world out of the familiar.

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