...is there a way
into the labyrinth? & out of the maze?
Kristina Rogers posed this question in an artist statement in 2011, a poetic explanation of her work that reveals as much as it conceals. Known for her richly layered imagery, Rogers consciously embraced opposition in her work. Steeped in mystery and tension, it occupies a space between darkness and light, reason and passion, belief and doubt. In the body of work presented here, Rogers draws upon her interest in post-structuralist theory, the philosophy of photography, and the challenges inherent in representation. Her multi-layered photographs are created by overlapping negatives, to which she frequently adds objects, historical photographs, and other artifacts. Though highly conceptual, Rogers’ work is also often deeply personal, and always poignant. Combining resources as diverse as art history, religion, and mythology with her own biography and private mementos, Rogers blurs the boundaries, not only between fact and fiction, but life and art, in her intricately constructed images.
Rogers was born in Heidelberg, Germany on February 11, 1945, just months before the end of World War II. After the war, the family emigrated first to London, England in 1947, and then to the United States in 1950. When Kristina was nine years old, her family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Rogers’ contentious relationship with the religious education she received in childhood would provide fertile ground upon which she would later question, challenge, and engage these early teachings through her photographic work, in search of deeper spiritual and philosophical resonance. Rogers recalled these childhood and adolescent experiences, stating: “…this was when my lifelong quest for knowledge and understanding began.”
Rogers was drawn instead to art and museums, and what she referred to as a “guilty little secret”—her fondness for the romantic imagery found in Pre-Raphealite painting, references to which can be seen throughout her work. Cultivating this early passion for art, Rogers studied at the Inchbaud School of Design in London. After traveling widely, she eventually settled with her husband in Waxhaw, North Carolina, just south of Charlotte. Largely self-taught, Rogers purchased her first camera in 1983 and began pursuing photography seriously by the mid-1980s. Beginning with evening courses at Central Piedmont Community College, and through additional independent study and critiques with fellow photographers at The Light Factory, Charlotte, North Carolina, Rogers perfected her skills of composing and printing gelatin silver photographs. Of these beginning years in photography, Rogers recalled: “It was as if a previously unknown world had opened up before me.”
Shortly before her untimely death in 2011, Rogers generously donated nearly 100 of her photographic works to the collection of The Mint Museum. Bringing together 25 of Rogers’ most provocative works of art, spanning her entire career, this exhibition provides a rare window onto the intriguing, beautiful, and complex world of one of Charlotte’s celebrated artists.