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Attitude Control

7:35 min. digital video
with 8mm transfer
with John Lawrence Toljanic

In Greek mythology, narratives are inextricable from landscape because natural phenomena are the animated by the Gods. In as much as Poseidon rules the sea- is embodied as the sea- the ocean becomes an active participant in the story. I am currently making paintings and videos that explore how landscapes operate in narratives of contemporary American mythology, as well as in the narratives of personal mythology.

I generally intend my work to produce in the viewer disorientation within familiar contexts, wonder at ranges of scale, and a sense of mystery. For years, I've drawn visual references from desert landscapes, which can effect these specific cognitive and emotional states. Recently, I've been drawing on concepts in quantum and astrophysics, which inspire me to similar internal states. My practice has been evolving to consider interactions of mind and place more directly than in my abstractions of desert landscapes, addressing specific relationships between location and memory. In this project and others, I'm incorporating significant locations in my personal history in videos and paintings. 


With this work I'm addressing movements in both space and in thought, movements of ideas: from metaphoric to literal and back, movement between mythology and history, between mythology and science. I'm occupied currently negotiating creation stories as told through mythology and through the language of mathematics and high-energy physics.


LL Kessner folds experiences with landscapes into enigmatic abstract paintings, drawings and videos. Her current body of work explores relationships between mind and place. In her work, Kessner sometimes incorporates autobiographical elements, which can be narrative or material in nature. She uses these specific, personal references as lenses through which to glimpse some common human experience.  The adaptations of these self-reflexive elements are consistently aimed to draw the viewer toward contemplation of things shared.

Originally from the western suburbs of Chicago, Kessner moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and quickly made camping and hiking in vast, open landscapes integral parts of her practice, striving to embody the quietude, wonder and disorientation of these journeys in visual media. The bulk of her work employs colors and forms drawn from specific moments to evoke mystery, hope or fleeting awe, and to present delicate considerations of language and symbols. The gravity of these themes is frequently undercut by subtle humor, generally revealed through titles or text containing clichés and pop psychological terminology, which belies a self-awareness that doesn’t take the work too seriously.  

Kessner teaches at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, CA. Prior to relocating to Northern California, she taught for ten years at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA and several other institutions in the LA area. Her group exhibitions include LACE, PØST and Pico House Gallery in Los Angeles, Armory Center for the Arts and Surrogate Gallery in Pasadena, and Centro Cultural Montjuic, Barcelona, Spain. She also created large-scale public art for the Cities of Pasadena, CA and Oak Park, IL. Her first solo show was at Platform in Highland Park, LA in 2013. Kessner received her MFA from Art Center Collage of Design after completing an AB at the University of Chicago. 


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