R. J. Kern Solo Exhibition

Jul 11, 2018 - Sep 1, 2018

R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is an American artist whose work explores ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes.Kern will display works from 3 collections: Divine Animals: The Bovidae, 2012-2016; The Unchosen Ones, 2016; and Out to Pasture, 2015-2017.



Since 2012, R. J. Kern has traveled to Ireland, Germany, Norway and Iceland, in order to explore his ancestral pastoral roots. He discovered the central role of goats, sheep and rams in the lives of his farming ancestors, and the land upon which they toiled. "My attraction to these animals springs from an affinity for their calm presences and their innate functional beauty. They have been shaped by the landscapes they inhabit and the lives they lead ...".—R. J. Kern. Light and composition is crucial to Kern's vision, which is inspired by landscape painters Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Sidney Cooper, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais, as well as the photographers of the Pictorialist movement (1885–1915). As a fine art environmental photographer, Kern is interested in presenting the human affect on the landscape and an inquisitive exploration of humanity through man's relationship with domestic animals.



The Unchosen Ones consists of over 60 portraits, made on the sidelines at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The artist attended county fair animal contests, leading up to the Minnesota State Fair—one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. Kern utilizes a formal approach to his subjects, whom are positioned in front of a traditional portrait-studio backdrop. This format partially isolates the subjects, enabling the viewer to observe the unique relationships between animal and human. "One isn't born a winner or loser, but a chooser. As we look at them, they look back allowing us to think about how we choose winners and the repercussions for the ones not chosen.” —R. J. Kern.


OUT TO PASTURE 2015 – 2017

The Out To Pasture series follows The Unchosen Ones, offering a deeper insight of the cultural landscape the animals call 'home'. "This work showcases how we see animals in a place, how we shape that place, and how it shapes us".— R. J. Kern.