In Karin Stack’s photography beautiful birds rest in trees in full spring bloom, a man stands on a cliff overlooking the sea in a moment of solitary contemplation, and a snake coils in rough, red-soil terrain. But look again and then again. All is not what it appears in the images of Karin Stack, who photographs elaborate tableaux that combine models, paintings, and both real and photographed landscapes. Drawn from art history—we find references to Romanticism, for example—as well as from contemporary visual sources, Stack’s photographs are both delightful and perplexing, stimulating and confounding.
The exhibition presents a selection of her recent photographic work, including many images that are making their debut in this exhibition, as well as a new work in video. Stack is well known for constructing visible worlds which seem to slide back and forth between being recognizable and alien and her recent creations will further this reputation. In some, her artifice is readily apparent while in others we are never quite sure. Her video, a digital animation that includes music she produced specifically, amplifies these themes. Like visual folktales, these photographs reveal just how mysterious even our most familiar surroundings can be and like a fabulist in the best sense, Stack reveals that the line between the knowable and the unknowable is much finer than we imagine.
Karin Stack: Idylls is a part of WCMA’s annual Summer Regional Artists Series.