James Henkel

Table Arrangements

January 4 – February 16, 2019

Press Release

Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Table Arrangements, an exhibition of new work by photographer James Henkel. The exhibition features twenty-eight black & white, and color photographs that explore ideas of beauty, purpose, and perception.  Reception for the artist, Friday, January 4, 6-8pm.

The viewer is challenged by seeing new and improbable objects emerge from the shards and dust of everyday vessels. This work draws on the Japanese aesthetics of Wabi-Sabi (the acceptance of imperfection) and Kintsugi, (beautiful repair) and the resulting photographs function like documents of vessels never seen before.  By dismantling purposeful objects through shattering and intentional breakage, Henkel allows the process of reimagining the object to widen. With the use of elastic bands, tape, and balance, broken pieces of the vessel are rearranged to reveal  caverns, depth, and surfaces untrue to the original form. Without the need for function, the objects Henkel has chosen to reconfigure lean into the realm of the uncanny, going so far as rendering an object entirely unusable. Lids are stacked high atop a single cup, bulbous forms knocked out and inverted, tension on the single band holding together a Frankestein-esque vase.


Alongside the inherent  manipulation Henkel presents within the vessels, beauty itself cannot be denied. The restructured object unveils unseen form through the perfect imperfect placement of pieces that had not been intervened, would be left to disarray. Set within their respective environments of the destruction that we just missed being witness to, the vessels lay somehow soft, elegant, and commanding in displaying their transformed presence.


James Henkel is Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. He has exhibited in over one hundred national and international venues, including St. Petersburg, Russia, the Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran,  The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others. His works is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Walker Art Center, SFMoMA, and many others. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Art, the Bush Foundations, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Henkel lives and works in Asheville and Penland, North Carolina.

For additional information or visuals, please contact info@traceymorgangallery.com