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Arts and Performance

James Henkel: Object Lessons Exhibition

October 25, 2021December 9, 2021 EDT

Light Work

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In his new exhibition, Object Lessons, artist James Henkel looks back over thirty years of image-making, following a conceptual and formal thread that ties his work together and seems to stubbornly insist on resurfacing.

The Henkel exhibition runs Monday, October 25, through Thursday, December 9, 2021, at Light Work. A reception and gallery talk with James Henkel will be held on Thursday, November 4, at 6 p.m. in the Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery. Signed copies of his exhibition catalog, Contact Sheet 214, will be available after the talk. The reception is free and open to the public.

Whatever is discarded, broken, and damaged draws Henkel to it. The objects he collects, assembles, or deconstructs are humble, common, and often no more than the scale of the human hand. Both the patina of wear and the handling that was often the source of the object’s destruction are clearly present. He presents pieces of ceramic pots, bowls, bricks, toys, combs, and well-worn books in their broken fragments. Completely useless now, they remain a testimony to someone’s life. This is what Henkel elevates by photographing these found objects so directly. Tension abounds in his work between the humble and the monumental, between play and decay, between high and low. The artist cross-references grander ideas from art history, painting, and sculpture, while also pointing back to the simpler but profound experience of photographing an ordinary life.

Light Work is thrilled to welcome patrons back into our exhibition spaces for in-person self and staff-guided tours, openings, and artist talks. In reopening, Light Work pledges strict adherence to the most up-to-date COVID-19 safety protocols in order to protect patrons, artists, students, and staff.

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This event was published on November 4, 2021.

Event Details

Limited metered parking is available on Waverly Avenue and paid parking is available in the Booth Parking Garage. Visit for more information on parking and directions to the galleries.