Sant Khalsa

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What is it like to be a female photographer working in California?

My artworks derive from an ecofeminist perspective and impassioned inquiry into the nature of place and complex environmental and societal issues. It is my intention to create a contemplative space where one can sense the subtle and profound connections between themselves and the natural world. Typical to my art practice and process, works evolve through in depth research and personal experiences with the sites that I photograph, both natural and built environments. The images represent my reflections on time and place, nature and culture, and self and community. The photograph is the visual artifact of my intimate connection with place - my observations, perceptions, and interpretations.
 

Sant might say her work reflects her artistic intimacy with nature and her lifelong passion of activism. Her imagery has a quiet controversy that slowly empowers the viewer to breathe deeply and reflect in the present moment. Khalsa’s work makes this connection with the audience beyond the initial zen-like quality. In the earthly landscapes and smoothly piled rock formations there is a dedication, a loyalty to the environment. Her gradient black and white images illustrate the fragile balance with nature and humanity through shadow and dark valleys.

Khalsa juxtaposes the vastness of landscape against our own complicated dense lives. She addresses outside space and if we fit enough of it into our lives. Khalsa illustrates that water equals life, growth, and humanity; yet her images often show the lack of actual people in the environment. Humanity is replaced by elementals.  Boulders, shrubs and brooks become the centerfolds in her works.

The body of Khalsa’s work is a dialogue of the environments’ that she captures and the hopeful preservation of natural resources. Precious elements calmly teeter on the brink of extinction in her works. Desert plants alone in the vastness of a dry landscape with only her shadow for company.

Her activism inhabits the gallery space. Although there is an absence of people in her work, it is not an indication of the absence of humanity.  Khalsa’s work challenges the viewer to balance daily societal obligations with that of environmental responsibilities.

With only a shadow of ourselves visible in nature, are we a thirsty desert with the desire to be quenched? Her work inspires us to create our own dialogue with nature and conceptualize our place in it.

 

"Exposed: The Female Lens in a Post-Identity Era?" is on view now through December 9, 2017 at CMATO (hours and admission).


Tiffany Talavera is a graduate of MSc program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. A California native, she has studied Contemporary Art, Curating, and Criticism and works with urban contemporary artists in the Los Angeles area. She has written for the Talbot Rice Gallery and Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh