Michael Kenna is a British-born artist who, for the past thirty years, has been producing a body of work renown for its serene, meditative qualities, a tempered, minimalist composition and an exquisite printmaking technique. Kenna’s photographs of the natural world, of architectural elements, parks, factories and industrial spaces are taken with long exposures, some of them as long as eight hours, with a medium-format film camera. He eschews digital technologies for the traditional dark room, printing each silver gelatin print himself. The result is a body of work that embodies a silent, timeless essence, evoking another world, unsullied by human presence.
Kenna has remarked that his work is “closer to haiku poetry than full-length prose” and it is the distillation of the elements in the image to their very essence that gives his photographs their simple clarity. They are richly meditative works that inhabit the atmospheric space that lies between the lightness of water and the weight of air.
A seeker of images, Kenna is an inveterate traveller who often returns year after year to places that have captured his imagination, revisiting such locations as Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Russia as well as numerous European countries. Since 1977 he has lived in the United States.
With over 400 one-person exhibitions throughout the world to his credit, Michael Kenna’s prints can be found in the permanent collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, amongst others. He has seen published eighteen monographs on his work and has done commercial work for such clients as Volvo, Rolls Royce, Audi, Sprint, Dom Perignon and The Spanish Tourist Board.