R. J. Kern
October 18 – December 2, 2018
Reception October 25, 2018 7 - 8:30 PM
R. J. Kern talk October 26, 2018 7 PM
The Unchosen Ones takes place on the sidelines of county fair animal contests in Minnesota in 2016. These county fairs lead up to the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world.
One isn’t born a winner or loser, but a chooser. This theme I explore in this series.
As we look at them, they look back, allowing us to think about how we choose winners and the repercussions for the ones not chosen.
The project consists of over 60 portraits made at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The photographs showcase the subject facing the camera, allowing the viewer to decide what connects and distinguishes these subjects.
With a vantage point straight onto the figures, the direct stance portrayed develops a typology, showcasing individual styles and characteristics. With a serial and systematic approach, the human condition is exposed in real-time. – R. J. Kern
Out to Pasture serves as a secondary, deeper glimpse of The Unchosen Ones, offering insight into the cultural landscape these animals call “home.”
This work explores how we see animals in a place, how we shape that place, and how it shapes us. The pastoral environment not only serves as backdrop for better understanding the cultural and physical landscape which have shaped this species, but human behavior is often mirrored in response. – R. J. Kern
R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is an American artist whose work explores ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes.
His work has been exhibited in a number of notable exhibitions, including at the Museum of Modern Art (Tbilisi, Georgia), National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), and the Yixian International Photography Festival (Anhui, China) among others.
Awards and accolades include CENTER 2017 Choice Award Winner, Curator’s Choice (First Place), PDN’s 30 2018, Critical Mass 2018 Top 50, the 2017 TAYLOR WESSING Photographic Portrait Prize (Finalist), and he is the recipient of two Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2016, 2018).
Kern’s work has been presented in a number of publications, including a feature in National Geographic (November 2017), with his series The Unchosen Ones and Out To Pasture. In 2018, Kern published his first monograph with Kehrer Verlag titled, The Sheep and the Goats, awarded one of “The Most Beautiful German Books 2018,” by Stiftung Buchkunst.
Public collections holding his work include the Center for Creative Photography, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Plains Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. He is represented by the Klompching Gallery in New York and Burnet Fine Art in Minnesota.
He lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.