Pierogi is pleased to present Kevin Cooley’s Skyward at The Boiler. Skyward is a large-scale video installation portraying Los Angeles’ manufactured landscape and its complex relationship to the natural world. Using the quintessential Los Angeles experience of driving as allegory, the video takes the point of view of a passenger gazing upward through an open-top convertible, or sunroof while riding throughout the city. This point of view manifests physically in the gallery by presenting this nearly ten-minute sequence on an oversized, suspended screen, compelling viewers to stare upwards toward the skylight-like tableau. What begins as realism subtly veers into the realm of fantastical daydream, transcending the routine activity of commuting by car, and rising above the gridlock at street level to a pristine blue sky saturated with limitless possibility.
Beginning downtown and ending high above Palos Verdes, the video stitches together Los Angeles’ disparate ecologies in an impossibly long tracking shot through its sprawling terrain. Crafted from over one hundred individually shot elements, Skyward navigates through a landscape of architecture, freeway overpasses, palm trees, birds, and other iconic Southern California elements, before soaring high above the clouds and looking back to a labyrinthine city far below. As the camera travels through the interconnected networks that physically define Los Angeles, via a simple shift in viewpoint Skyward reveals interdependent ecosystems ordinarily overlooked.
“Maybe the most important thing about Kevin Cooley’s lush and mysterious photographs and quirky man-vs-the elements video landscapes is that he makes them in person, taking straight on-site pictures of real events he sets in motion. The difficulty of crafting them in this way matters for reasons of art historical context, narrative content, and conceptual gravitas.” …In Skyward, “[e]vents in the cloudless blue sky, from the glistening of palm fronds to the passage of a blimp, unfold across several takes woven together; but there’s no trickery, just layered truths.” (Shana Nys Dambrot, 2012)
Cooley received a MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York City. His work, Remote Nation, (comprised of 100 analog TV sets placed throughout a vacant NYC apartment building and playing programs controlled by his father’s remote control in Colorado) was recently on view in New York, seen from the High Line.
This project was supported in part by a grant from the Experimental Television Center.