Carl Hammer Gallery welcomes Orly Cogan back for her second solo appearance here in Chicago. Cogan, who has always been interested in working with and combining multiple mediums, is best known for her unique crafting of hand stitched embroidered figures on top of previously embroidered vintage fabrics. Originally made by women of previous eras, these pieces serve as the foundation for the fantastic and exotic dialogue evolving from her combining the old and the new. Indirectly, she becomes collaborator with the earlier artists by modernizing these traditional works and altering their original purpose.
Cogan’s work deals with history, tradition, mythology, nature, humor, sexuality, relationships and intimacy. The entwinement of contemporary motifs onto these vintage fabrics inspires contrasts and dialogues between the time and consciousness of yesterday’s traditions alongside today’s sensibility.
Recently, the artist has incorporated photography and collage elements into her art-making process. These photo-based pieces provide another vehicle to explore the image in contemporary society as dictated by the mass media. She plays with the way the female image is defined and depicted through fashion and style periodicals all while illustrating the media’s influence on the feminine ideal.
Inherent to her own personality, these works play with the artist’s attraction to the spaces between dichotomies. She explores the extremes of soft and tough, dirty and clean, fantasy and reality, especially as they relate to gender. Her work delves deep into the feminine ideal and mixes subversion with flirtation, humor with power and intimacy with frivolity. The characters in her work are present in the way a child perceives the world: wholehearted, engaged, uninhibited, and reliant on the senses.
Through the work of Orly Cogan, we learn of our seduction. We become aware of and better understand the kinds of frequently shifting boundaries which constantly define and re-define the roles of women. These pieces open our eyes, heighten our awareness, and create new and innovative ways of looking at the female figure.