Staley-Wise Gallery is pleased to present the first major exhibition by KALI. The exhibition includes vintage photo-based artwork and original Polaroid prints. The majority of this work has never been seen publicly before.
Joan Marie Archibald was born in 1932 and raised on Long Island, New York. Wed and divorced by the age of 30, she left everything behind for California and a new life – and a new identity as “Kali”. While Kali had studied art and photography previously, no one knows exactly when and how her artistic practice and style developed. She began using an improvised darkroom in the master bath of her Palm Springs home to print 16x20 inch photographs. She chose her subjects carefully, which included friends, pets, acquaintances, children, her children’s friends (including a young Cindy Sherman), and surroundings. Late into the night, Kali then used dyes, screens, and organic material in the swimming pool to layer moody and psychedelic abstractions over the photographs and dried the textured prints in the desert sun.
The social and political turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s encouraged a more experimental artistic culture in the Los Angeles area. Artists began recontextualizing photographs as “objects” open to manipulation – rejecting the more straightforward and classical approach of photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Kali was a prolific pioneer of this alternative photography and her vibrant images marry a bohemian sensuality indicative of the time period and her lifestyle with a more emotional spontaneity.