Klea McKenna - Witness Mark

Event has passed (Sat Dec 2, 2017 - Tue Jan 2, 2018)


Witness Mark
November 30, 2017 - January 2, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday December 2, 5-8pm

EUQINOMprojects is pleased to present Witness Mark, Klea McKenna’s first solo show with the gallery, since announcing its representation of her in May of this year. In addition to the gallery exhibition, we will be debuting her short film, ALMA, across the atrium in the Media Room.

McKenna continues to push the boundaries of photography by subverting the traditional use of her medium. Witness Mark will feature new “photographic rubbings” of the textures of concentric tree-rings and a large installation of hand-embossed imprints of earth and concrete depicting a fractured imaginary landscape. The exhibition also debuts new work that reveals intricate photographic reliefs of textiles. Fraying fibers and unraveling embroidery imprint their flaws onto the photographic paper in crystalline detail. These threadbare fabrics act as surrogates for the very bodies that made and wore them. McKenna’s incisive explorations of broken patterns record the story of each subject through its imperfections. She depicts these ruptures in the landscape and material culture as allegories for human emotional experience.

The title of the exhibition, Witness Mark, is a term used in cartography, forensics, and machine repair, which refers to an intentional or naturally occurring line, groove, blaze, hole, or other mark used to impart information into an unknown future. A witness mark is a stain or scar on a surface that communicates across time. Taken more literally and as individual words: Witness. Mark. becomes a clear, imperative instruction to an artist living through deeply uncertain times.

By detaching from the conventions and limitations of a traditional camera and negative, McKenna’s innovative methods seek to amplify that which is felt rather than record what is seen. Her use of photography is unique in that it records a physical relationship between the subject and the material; the mark of an interaction. In her own words, “Rather than being made through sight or the sight of a camera, these representations are translated through touch – through my own body and the physical labor it takes to make them. Photographic rubbings are an adaptation of the medium that was not made for this. And as with most mis-translations, it reveals a new kind of meaning – both in the subjects and the process.”

The short film ALMA is McKenna’s first foray into a new medium. The non-narrative film tracks the movement of a flock of women through a megalithic landscape. They appear to be working, enacting a cryptic ceremony with a sense of calm and purposeful labor. The soundtrack weaves together their breath and humming with sounds collected from the landscape. The use of movement – gestures that come from both work and dance – evoke the strange overlap between labor and ritual, calling to mind the physical processes McKenna uses to create her photographic rubbings. In this way, ALMA offers itself as a companion piece to McKenna’s photographic work, another artifact from that same world.

McKenna was born in Freestone, CA in 1980 and received a BA from the University of California in Santa Cruz and an MFA from the California College of the Arts. Recent exhibitions include: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA; Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA. Public collections include: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA; and the US Embassy, Republic of Suriname, Art in Embassies, US Department of State. She is the daughter of renegade ethnobotanists, Kathleen Harrison and Terence McKenna. McKenna lives in San Francisco with her husband and their young daughter.


  1. Minnesota Street Project 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco, CA
  2. EUQINOMprojects 1599 Tennessee Street, San Francisco, CA