In his debut, solo exhibition at Arcadia Contemporary, San Francisco-based artist Kim Cogan pushes the boundaries of realism to travel into the realm of memory.
The Other Side, the artist’s first, solo exhibition in two years, is Cogan’s attempt to reconstruct how the mind remembers. Through paintings that piece together abstract memories with a palpable nostalgia of a distinct time and place, the artist creates a new, dream-like reality.
Cogan is a keen observer of his surroundings, capturing the passage of time and vanishing landscapes that hold so much memory. Haunted by the things that no longer exist, Cogan was interested in more than merely reproducing a literal translation of a place, a time or person. He wanted to create a story and evoke a longing for the past. “By combining old photographs with new ones, I wanted to make a complete image, very similar to how you might construct a memory in your head,” he says.
The challenge was in the process. Cogan composed the paintings in a way he had never done before. He used his own childhood photos and combined them with fragments of objects, people and environments to manipulate a new narrative, at once familiar and alien. Figures were not necessarily designed as the focal point, but sometimes drawn and redrawn around the surroundings. The brush strokes compliment the story by focusing on shapes, not likeness. Cogan says, “The picture is a starting point for provoking a deeper thought or memory. The paint is pushed to be more expressive.”
The story that unravels from these paintings is not about a singular subject or an exact reality. As Cogan puts it, “It is more truthful. There is honesty in how I experienced it, how I remember it.”
The opening reception for Kim Cogan’s Solo Exhibition “The Other Side” is Thursday, September 17th from 6-8 pm and the exhibition continues through October 4th.