Tint is pleased to announce “Perception Illuminated,” featuring works by Betsy Kenyon and Blanca Estela Rodríguez.

Through different media, these artists play with perception by sculpting light. In a darkroom, Kenyon records momentary gestures onto photographic paper. The heavy penumbra between areas of light and dark reads as shading, which creates an illusion of form, space, and light.

Rodríguez uses colored acrylic glass to create sculptures that seem to be illuminated. Her works offer limitless shifts in perception based on light, shape, time, and proximity. Kenyon’s work is a merging of different processes; it challenges distinctions between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional experiences, capturing normally imperceptible time events. Using darkroom techniques as her medium, Kenyon blurs established lines between drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture.

Each darkroom print is one of a kind, made without a negative. Each part of the image is a unique, split-second exposure/gesture where incremental advances become differences in tonal value and ultimately differences in a perceived visual space. Even though Kenyon’s works are produced chemically in a darkroom, Kenyon refers to them as “darkroom drawings” because they feel less photographic and more drawing-like to her.

Much of Kenyon’s work is based in abstraction. By paring down materials and strategies, she tries to avoid a defined visual outcome, encouraging instead a “discipline of staying open” – a concept anchored in Buddhism. The mental landscape for Kenyon’s work also stems from math, geometry, physics, and the occult. Kenyon never starts with the answer, preferring to see where time, place, materials, and processes take her. She creates moment to moment; the tonal palette and tools used are intentionally pared down for these guided experiments. Kenyon’s abstractions shift between the precisely geometrical to a rangier, dynamic form, and without the camera, something seemingly non-material manifests. Things are not represented; things are revealed.

In luminous acrylic glass works, Rodríguez creates metaphorical spaces that reductively explore the illusion of a stable reality. Despite static architectural shapes and lines, that which is solid seems to dissolve and the viewer’s experience is never quite the same depending on the atmospheric elements. Shapes appear to bend as reflections confuse boundaries, and shadows complicate the core structures of each sculpture.

The shifts in perception based on light, shape, and proximity mimic the complex interplay of intention and reception in cross cultural communication, understanding, and experience. This mirrors Rodríguez’s own ever evolving identity; enriched by each country she has inhabited, and received differently depending upon time, place, cultural and linguistic nuance. The hypnotizing ways in which Rodríguez’s work plays with perception invites the viewer into imaginary, almost private spaces. The shifting beauty is both structural and atmospheric; projections and preconceptions, real and imagined facts, play tricks on the mind and color the experience.

Betsy Kenyon lives and works in New York City. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a recipient of a City Artist Corps Grant and has been a visual arts resident at Pioneer Works, Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, and Brooklyn Darkroom. She has exhibited in shows internationally and recently had a solo exhibition at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will be participating in a group show at the United Nations, opening November 2023.

Blanca Estela Rodríguez is a Mexican artist, currently based in San Francisco. She has lived in various cities throughout the world including Mexico (Mexico City), Gothenburg (Sweden), Hamburg (Germany), and now the Bay Area. Rodríguez’s multinational (im)migration experience informs her interest in exploring themes of identity and the site specificity of perception through a variety of media. Rodríguez received a B.Des from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, a MSc in Art and Technology from Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, and a Masters in Visual Arts from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, Germany.