Dianne Kornberg: Madonna Comix and Other Collaborations

September 29 - November 22, 2014

Madonna ComixWhen Kornberg’s retrospective exhibition Field Notes was shown at the Western Gallery in 2008, she took her art one step further by creating a set design for Montréal Danse which was in residence at Western Washington University. Working day and night for a week in the university’s photo lab, she created an installation of large scale digital prints which echoed the theme of the dance company’s Furies Alpha 1/24 (The Monsters Within). Both artistic forms – Kornberg’s photographs and Montréal Danses’ performance (in the gallery), resonated with order and chaos, moved back and forth along the lines of control and lack of control, and fluttered between despair and hope. Since that time, Kornberg has soared in her collaborative work with writers. In her early work she used found scientific text to create a metaphoric narrative about natural processes. In her recent work, as Madonna Comix, she has pushed the limits of photography by becoming a photo-based digital printmaker who also utilizes her background as a painter.

This inaugural exhibition of Madonna Comix, a photo-based series of twenty-six large-scale archival pigment prints, is about women as physical, sexual, maternal, sacrificial and spiritual beings. The imagery in Madonna Comix was developed by combining scanned 4 x 5 negatives and digital photographs (often from childhood) with drawing, software artifacts, appropriated poetic text, and snippets from Little Lulu comic books. Cultural critic Luc Sante has said,

Dianne Kornberg’s audacious pictures . . . make the volume comix, with an “x” as in Zap, which suggests something unsafe, undeceived, clued-in, and perhaps a bit wicked . . . (She) has a way with the female body, giving each curve its sensuous and gravitational weight. Her drawing has an ukiyo-e precision and clarity that she muddies for emotion . . . Limbs, beaks, crotches, feathers all tumble over the page. With the backing scrim of comics the effect is bottomless. What runs through these pages--words and images, violence and humor, doubt and possession--the sum of them is love.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a walking tour, lecture and book signing (October 12, 12-2pm) during the conference of the NW Society of Photographic Educators at Western (October 10-12) and an open discussion with students and faculty from Women Studies (TBD).