Touching Pictures


Touching Pictures
On view: Sept 8 – Oct 7, 2018
Second Saturday Reception: Sept 8, 6-10pm
Daily hours: Tuesday through Sunday 12-5

The exhibition Touching Pictures features recent photo-based work by Kristine Thompson that examines how images of death, violence, and mourning circulate publically. The works featured engage photographic imagery in a tactile manner in order to question when and how pictures might elicit empathy.

The project Images Seen to Images Felt consists of photograms (one-of-a-kind prints) that are made when the artist presses light-sensitive photographic paper up to her computer screen in the darkroom. They are direct impressions of images that she has collected from a range of online newspapers. Collectively, these prints become a kind of archive of ongoing violence and the grieving that follows. The amount of pressure that she applies as the photographic paper makes contact with the screen determines whether the elements in the photos appear crisp or more ghostly. She installs these prints in clustered groupings so that formal and emotional connections can be made between images that might not otherwise be considered in the same context. Thompson turns these virtual photos into tangible prints to advocate for a slowed-down, more deliberate way of viewing these individuals and circumstances.

In a concurrent series Difficult Things Seen Cannot Be Unseen, various individuals’ eyes are photographed on a macro scale so that the printed news photographs that they are holding are made visible in the eye’s reflection. As viewers look the individuals in the eye, they must also grapple with the challenging photos that each participant has selected.

Both projects attempt to understand difficult contemporary events in a new way—utilizing a directness of touch and a directness of gaze.

Kristine Thompson is an artist and educator working primarily in photography. Her work considers how contemporary photographic imagery circulates and addresses representations of death, memorial practices, and mourning. She received her B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and her M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Art at Louisiana State University.

Thompson is the recipient of several awards, including a D.A.A.D. Fellowship in the Arts, which facilitated a year-long project in Germany, and an Investing in Artists Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. Her work has been featured in recent exhibitions at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX; Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California; the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in Denver; and School 33 in Baltimore.

Thompson also served for several years as a curator at UCR/California Museum of Photography, and she continues to initiate independent curatorial projects. Most recently, the exhibition After Life was hosted by the Luckman Gallery at California State University, Los Angeles.