Despite all of the discomfort wrought by the pandemic, for photographer Katharine Boden the isolation imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown also yielded an unanticipated gift: reflective time, and out of it the instigation to ruminate deeply on her immediate world. Benefitting from the technical capabilities of her iPhone 12 Pro, what might have otherwise passed unexamined became the material with which to enact a systematic photographic investigation resulting in the works on display here.


With ordinary photographic apprehension now transformed, these remarkable images evidence an artist willfully evading the confines of solitude and the quotidian, transgressing both through a radical probing of the limits of her medium. Conventional captures now give way to talismanic objects positioned in magical ‘sets’ that reconfigure light, color and composition into a new visual language.


Issuing out of our image-saturated era—what art historians have termed today’s ‘pictorial turn’—Boden’s photographs at once evoke and recast the everyday life that we see in exhibitions, newspapers, advertisements, and movies into singular visual encounters. Here the abbreviated montage of the clip, the video trailer, and Instagram post reappears as jagged disjunctions, dynamic juxtapositions of colors and forms that speak to our subconscious absorption of the manic pace of our visual culture.


By destabilizing the long-held assumptions of the peaceable gaze out into the world, these photographs push us to examine whether we are ready to accept or reject our fast-paced present. For Boden, photography is a means to absorb and translate this energy—to come to terms with disruption. As Boden would have it, rationalizing the world need not necessarily be an anxious practice, but one open to humor, visual puns, and optical puzzles to be decoded by the viewer. With each of us on our own individual journey of self-discovery, she invites us to test our perceptions as she has hers, and thereby create a new world more open to uncertainty.


This exhibition is dedicated to the artist’s sister, Joan Colt Hooper, on her 92nd birthday.


Katharine Boden is an artist living and working in Massachusetts. With her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, she received artistic training from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the City & Guilds of London Art School. She is trained in a variety of mediums including printmaking, photography, and painting. She has received awards from the Cambridge Art Association and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and her work is featured in numerous private collections across the globe.


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