April 26, 2010

Charles Cohan: Losing the original amidst repetition

Charles Cohan, "MGP09.X-XVII," 2010, colagraph print, 46 x 40," edition of one.

For the next day or two, I'll be lurking around the museums and galleries in DC. One of my favorite DC galleries is Curator's Office, Andrea Pollan's micro-gallery/office space on 14th Street. She shows small-scale work-on-paper, installations, and photography, and periodically invites a curator (museum curator, critic, artist, collector, educator, promising student, gallerist) to display a tightly focused presentation of an artist or art collective's work. Currently she's showing new prints by Charles Cohan, the Chair of the Printmaking Program at the University of Hawaii in Manoa.

As in his former airport "Terminal and Runway" series exhibited here in 2007, Cohan continues his interest in typologies imposed by humans upon the land and researched Google Earth for aerial views of his racetrack subject matter. He then visited racetrack websites to develop his imagery for Tracks. The racetrack circuits are layered according to a particular season of races. Among the races included in this exhibition are the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championships, the 2009 MotoGP motorcycle series, the 2010 Rolex GRAND-AM season, and the 2010 Deutsche Tourenwagen Master season. The resulting mysterious tangle of lines evokes a knot gone awry or a pile of unwound paper clips. In his labor-intensive process, Cohan admits to a fascination with "the graphic overlapping of a specific typology of architectonic forms, the simultaneous mapping of distinct yet coordinate information systems, the optical confusion that occurs within the overlaying of images of a shared type, and the loss of the original amidst the repetition of the similar." The show also includes prints from Cohan's "Peaks" series, in which images are based on mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

"Charles Cohan: Circuits," Curator's Office, Washington, DC. Through May 1.

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