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A Certain Slant of Light

October 11, 2023 - January 13, 2024

Artist Talk on December 16, 2023

moderated by Bay Area artist-educator Binh Danh

A Certain Slant of Light

curated by Arielle Rebek
featuring work by emerging artists
Adrienne Defendi and Anna Rotty

Curatorial Statement

A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light is a two-person exhibition featuring the work of Adrienne Defendi and Anna Rotty. With a sensitivity to materials, image permanence, and the behavior of light, each artist explores the possibilities of the photographic object. The exhibition title is based on the poem, “There’s a certain Slant of light” by Emily Dickinson, in which a beam of light transforms the author’s understanding of the world itself. This sentiment is reflected in the work of both Defendi and Rotty, who each possess an acute consideration for light as a material. Light is both an origin and a critical element of the destination for their work.

The artists bring our attention to the surface of the photograph and the dimension and tangibility of the art object. Defendi’s continued study of 35mm slides unfolds in numerous representations of the archive. She transforms the archive’s function from a practical record to an exquisite artifact cast in pewter. Rotty employs non-traditional materials in the creation of her photographic objects, including dry dirt from the Rio Grande, privacy screen, and etched mirror. Each substance invites viewers to move around the piece, consider its physicality, and investigate the conceptual underpinnings of the material choice.

Unlike the fixed perspective of a traditional photograph, the work in this exhibition demonstrates the shifting and malleable potential of the medium. Each artist explores this fluidity through a process of iteration, rephotographing, or layering as a means of further examining the concept of impermanence. Adrienne Defendi deconstructs a single image of a Madrone forest and reforms multiple views that emphasize the pliability of the photograph and the changing landscape. Defendi’s work considers the impermanence of memory, specifically as it relates to place and objects associated with loss. We see multiple iterations of the slide archive, which is both a memory aid and reflection on photography’s past. Anna Rotty rephotographs a printed image that has been manipulated or reintroduced into the landscape. This act of rephotographing creates connection to multiple points in time and environmental change, while drawing our attention to the layered illusion of the photograph. Water, as a resource that is scarce and fleeting yet vital and pleasurable, is the subject of much of Rotty’s current study. Her work builds an empathy for this natural resource and reflects the complex relationship with water in her current home of New Mexico.

A Certain Slant of Light is a conversation of light and form, an ode to material exploration, and a poetic musing on transformation. 

- Arielle Rebek, October 2023


Arielle Rebek (she/her) is an Oakland-based artist and educator whose work employs photography and installation. Working primarily with analog and camera-less photographic methods, Rebek explores translations of space, markers of time, and the visual language of archives. Arielle exhibited her work at Chung 24 Gallery in 2022 and begins her curatorial endeavors with A Certain Slant of Light.

Arielle earned her BA in Studio Art from Carleton College and MFA in Art Studio from the University of California - Davis, where she was awarded the Margrit Mondavi Fellowship and Mary Lou Osborn Award. Rebek has exhibited internationally, notably the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Arts-Singapore, Perlman Teaching Museum, and Minnesota Street Project. She has participated in numerous residencies including LASALLE Topical Lab, Root Division, Google AiR, and the Kala Art Institute. Rebek has been involved with the SF arts non-profit, Root Division, in their education program and fundraising efforts. She is part of an ongoing collaboration with ecologist Marina LaForgia, on projects pertaining to environmental change and California annual plants. Arielle teaches photography at UC Berkeley and California State University Sacramento.



Artist Bio


Artist Bio

Installation Photos

Click on image to see video of "Suns on water," 2023 by Anna Rotty. 


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