Painting by Dena Kahan

The Provisional Sublime | Dena Kahan

OCTOBER 11, 2012 - NOVEMBER 10, 2012

…Kahan’s interest in the glass flowers collection, however, is optical rather than botanical, and reflects a longstanding fascination with the qualities and nature of glass. Glass was used to create these models so that they might be exactly reproduced and perfectly fixed in time and place. Yet, in these paintings, the order and perfection of the display is subverted: ambiguities of space and reflection undermine the clear containment and neat taxonomy of the museum case.

There is an inherent incongruity in the use of glass, a material that is hard and inflexible in its solid state. This incongruity is emphasised by Kahan’s treatment, which highlights the reflective brittleness of the flowers. But this is also the point: these are flowers which can be broken, but can never wilt and die. They embody our longing for the immaculate perfection and immortality which can never be.