History is a pack of lies about events that never happened, told by people who weren’t there.   George Santayana

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With imagination and conviction, Czech-born artist Tatana Kellner brings together her diverse background in painting, printmaking, photography, and papermaking. As a mixed-media artist, Kellner’s artwork is strongly informed by early life experience in communist-era Prague, growing up in a family where both parents were Holocaust survivors. At an early age Kellner learned to question hidden agendas of government and news propaganda. Appropriately, the primary source material for her work is the media, in the form of newspaper text and images. Kellner’s artwork often brings to light the discrepancy that exists when events represented by the media are at odds with an individual’s experience. 

Tatana Kellner’s current one-person exhibition titled Embarrassing Facts is featured at Kean University’s CAS Gallery from January 27 through March 12, 2009. The show is actually Part II of our presentation of Kellner’s artwork. Part I was installed earlier this academic year. For two months, her landmark work Requiem for September 11 graced the atrium of the Center for Academic Success building, to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. The forty-five banners, each sixteen feet long and four feet wide, include a New York Times photograph of each individual who lost his or her life that day. The current exhibit showcases work Kellner created about the political landscape in the United States since that time. These artworks are often charged with frustration and honesty.

On behalf of Kean University, I want to thank Tatana Kellner for her efforts involved in planning the exhibition and lending all the works being shown in this exhibition. Many thanks to professor Julie Harris of the Fine Arts Department for initially introducing me to Kellner’s artwork and for hosting a concurrent teaching workshop. This is a great opportunity for students to observe the master artist at work in the Kean University printmaking studio. For the installation of this show, we are grateful to our student gallery assistants, Tracey Sperling, Stephanie Natiello and Joya Thompson. Special thanks to Kean University President Dawood Farahi and Holly Logue, Acting Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts. We appreciate their support for the growing exhibition program and the opportunity to investigate the work of Tatana Kellner.

Neil Tetkowski
Director of University Galleries
Kean University