Falling from Great Heights
The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. --Carl Sagan
The Cohen Gallery is pleased to announce Falling from Great Heights, a group exhibition featuring photographic works by Siri Kaur, John Knuth, and Heather Rasmussen. While each of the three Los Angeles-based artists owns a distinct style, all have a fascination with photography as a vehicle to abstract locations and space. Each artist’s work transcends the materials used to dislocate the viewer by means of manipulation, scale, and movement. All of them engage with the sublime, the beauty and fear of the spectacle of nature and the unknown. This poetic leitmotif draws their work together, however each artist manifests this in different ways.
Siri Kaur will show images from her Half of the Whole series—a photographic exploration of deep space through a telescope lens. She manipulates the color and depth of the celestial forms with chemicals in the darkroom to create new images that look like “real” photographs of distant galaxies. With this series the artist plays with photography’s uncanny ability to dislocate space and time. Kaur received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and is currently an Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art and Design. Her work will be included in the forthcoming 2013 California Triennial of Photography.
John Knuth’s Polaroid images from High Harbor and Faded Siren, are based upon a simple process of photographing survival materials that echo patterns in the natural world. The result yields little jewels of one-of-a-kind Polaroid prints. High Harbor includes abstract images of crumpled, light-reflecting Mylar blankets tossed into the night sky and upon being photographed result in abstract images of what could be glimmering mountains and valleys. Faded Siren exposes billowing clouds of orange smoke from emergency flares photographed with flash that cause fractal patterns in the black night sky. Knuth’s corresponding video displays his practice of working with the smoke flares in the desert landscape. Knuth was the director of Circus Gallery from 2007 to 2010. He has shown his work in Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Iceland and Mexico and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and in galleries in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. He received an MFA from USC.
DestructConstruct by Heather Rasmussen is a series inspired by the artist’s ongoing investigation into shipping container disasters as systems of dysfunction. Colorful, handmade paper sculptures are stacked, scattered or crumpled into formations that replicate found images on the Internet of actual cargo accidents. These abstracted incidents remove the viewer from a dangerous scene and into an exploration of shape, color and pattern with deceivingly fragile materials, representing the delicate foundation of man’s trophies to globalization. Heather received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Mixed Greens in NYC and numerous galleries across the country.