Santa Barbara artist Kate Connell’s work is part of our critically acclaimed exhibition, Dislocation. Her journey of finding herself in a foreign country, leaving the comfort of a California lifestyle and heading with her husband and two children to spend three years in Japan is the subject of this body of work.
As part of her search for connectedness, Kate used photography to connect to a society she didn’t understand, navigating a place through visual means. The diptychs she created for this exhibition lead to a period of discovery, for matching images visually and emotionally brought to a close a period of unresolved connections to a place.
About Kate Connell –
In 2003 I moved to Kyoto, Japan with my husband and children and spent the next two years photographing the city’s landscape. I couldn’t speak the language nor understand its culture and my camera became my way to reach across the barriers and obstructions that I experienced. Through my lens, I could articulate this unfamiliar world I was encountering. My camera puzzled over the city’s disorder and its gestures towards beautification, and slowly I began to appreciate what I first experienced as imperfection in the often-haphazard gardens and streetscapes. The emotional barriers I felt as a foreigner became a formal element in the photographs, as odd layers and traverses provided an aid to composition.
I strive to overcome barriers when communicating directly with people, but in a photograph I am interested in discovering and revealing the subtle interference of those walls, not resolving issues put forth by a fence separating owner from the passers by. As I re-visit the photographs now, I see the recurring themes of barriers and exits and have decided to push this concept by pairing photographs into diptychs.
I recognize that obstructions, physical and emotional, can instill literal and expressive depth—a concept I continue to explore. Having the camera helped to make life in Japan bearable and satisfying, and ultimately brought me closer to the people of Kyoto.