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Artists' Opening Reception: Kevin Cooley & Phillip Andrew Lewis at Kopeikin Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 20, 2014

UNEXPLORED TERRITORY

ImageExhibition Dates: January 11 - February 22, 2014

Reception with the Artists:
Saturday January 11
6:00 - 8:00 pm


 
 Kevin Cooley NROL-65 Spy Satellite Launch, archival pigment prints, four 12x18" photographs, ed of 4+1AP, 2013, Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery
 
ImageKevin Cooley Controlled Burn 1, Controlled Burn 3, 40x60" archival pigment print, ed of 4+1AP, 2013, Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

This multidisciplinary exhibition goes beyond the photographic image to include photograms, videos, and works on paper. Kevin Cooley, with Phillip Andrew Lewis as collaborator on some works, designed Unexplored Territory to chart the limits of human exploration and our desire to control and conquer nature. Both rudimentary and complex themes are touched, and subjects run the gamut from the symbolic and early use of fire to its harnessing and calculated management, such as the combustion needed for a rocket launch. Kevin Cooley also engages historic even romantic notions of colonial exploration of the American West, and find ways to elevate every day objects such as box fans and helium balloons by giving them human-like characteristics through movement and interactions.

At times the work seems simple; more correctly stated it is pure, elemental, and instantly communicates. It is also deeply layered with truth often guised or simplified by abstractions of technology. Contradiction and equal opposition is also used to drive our thought. Controlled Burn 1, for example, is primal and intense. Even in our contemporary world we humans have an instinctual draw to fires. In Cooley's Controlled Burn 1 we are met by two frames: in one brilliant orange flames give rise to grey billowy smoke against black ground, and in its partner-image heavy smolder overwhelms flame, and thick ripely smoke moves like tar-black waves upward agains a snow-white ground. This is one of the most potent works in the series. It gives foundation and becomes symbolic for what would become more sophisticated exploration, control, management, and division. Somehow lurking in the back of our minds is the thought that these works represent human-imposed systems, and somewhere these elements and forces of the natural world exist without control- or could.

About the Artists:
This is Los Angeles-based artist Kevin Cooley's second solo exhibition with The Kopeikin Gallery, which runs concurrent with Kevin Cooley: Elements at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Cooley's photographs were recently acquired by the 21c Museum (Louisville, KY), and he is a 2013 recipient of a Center for Cultural Innovation ARC Grant (Los Angeles, CA). Phillip Andrew Lewis is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is a recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital Grant for his ongoing project SYNONYM. Both artists were in residence at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, (Omaha, NE) where they met and began working together. Cooley and Lewis' first collaborative commission Through the Skies for You won the 3-D Award at ArtPrize 2013 (Grand Rapids, MI) and their exhibition as a collaborative team will open at Zeitgeist Gallery (Nashville, TN) March 2014.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit Kopeikin Gallery


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