Ethereal images that enthrall and blur the boundaries between illusion and reality are Kaufman’s newest body of work. In Surface Tension, the artist continues her examination of human presence in relation to the natural world. Kaufman constructs her vignettes in the studio using various lighting techniques, textile screens, reflective surfaces, and lenses to create space and depth ultimately resulting in fabricated, yet familiar environments. Her process is a combination of organic, low-tech studio processes captured on film followed by digital processes.
The resulting images are a combination of vivid colours that seep across the picture plane creating an elusive subterranean depth that speak to naturally occurring complex systems, such as the roots of a tree or the interior of the body. Pairing these fictional landscapes with the human body creates a nourishing and protective connection that activates a state of flux between physical and psychological space. Kaufman sees these collected works as targeting our collective anxiety regarding our arduous relationship to the natural world.
Our envelope, as I have called it, the cultural insulation that separates us from nature, is rather like the window of a lit-up railway carriage at night. Most of the time it is a mirror of our own concerns, including our concerns about nature. As a mirror, it fills us with the sense that the world is something which exists primarily in reference to us: it was created for us; we are the centre of it and the whole point of its existence. But occasionally the mirror turns into a real window, through which we can see only the vision of an indifferent nature that goes along for untold aeons of time without us, seems to have produced us only by accident, and, if it were conscious, could only regret having done so.
Northrop Frye, Creation and Recreation