ARTISTS | Dena Kahan
Dena Kahan’s painting practice aims to subvert our natural inclination for order and perfection.
Using museum collections as subject matter for still life painting, such as the world famous collection of glass botanical specimens in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Kahan introduces ambiguities of scale, space and reflection to undermine the clear containment of the museum case. In doing so, she transforms museum objects into a kind of substitute romantic landscape, hinting at the awe of the natural world.
Working with thin layers of oil on linen, resulting in delicate and translucent surfaces, Kahan’s gossamer-like application of paint keeps the focus upon the materiality, reflecting the delicate nature of her subject matter. Her paintings segue neatly into the art museum environment, evidenced by the small survey exhibition of her work curated and hosted by Ballarat Fine Art Gallery in 2014.