Kopeikin Gallery will present Unexplored Territory, an interdisciplinary campaign charting the limits of human exploration and our desire to conquer and control nature by Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis. Working with a set of themes ranging from early control of fire, colonial exploration of the American West, harnessing fire in the form of combustion to launch rockets into space, to anthropomorphic actions of everyday objects such as box fans, and helium balloons, this body of work exposes a layered relationship between technology's abstractions and certain universal truths.
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Encompassing photographs, photograms, videos, and works on paper, this collection of disparate, yet interconnected work is an attempt to understand how everything has the potential to be simultaneously beautiful and destructive. Through figurative and metaphorical gestures and the power of direct representation, the artists' work navigates this terrain without repetition of subject matter, offering the viewer a multifaceted window into their artistic space.
The show opens with a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 11, from 6:00 to 8:00. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Works by Kevin Cooley in the exhibition include the following:
-Anza Borrego, a large format landscape photograph tracing Mexican explorer Juan Bautista de Anza's path through the Southern California desert which now bears his name.
-NROL-65 Spy Satellite Launch, a photographic quadriptych of a recent launch of a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force base, transforming from a plume of rocket exhaust into a seemingly perfect cumulus cloud.
-Starlight Trajectory is a large scale photogram resembling a comet or explosion in interstellar space, created by exposing photographic paper to a Starlight Candle- a roman candle firework.
-Images from Controlled Burns, a series of photographs of swirling and imposing clouds of smoke contend with one another in a physical battle between diametrically opposing explosions of black and white.
-Smoke Bolides, unique works on paper made by smoke residue, which resemble falling meteorites.
Works by Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis include the following videos and related photographs:
-We Can Break Through presents a pair of standard box fans connected to a single common power strip. These coexisting machines morph from inert mechanical objects to dancing, dueling entities that ultimately bring about their own demise.
-North of North Stars, clusters of white balloons float off into the darkened night sky while black balloons sail into an overcast daytime sky. As both groups blend together on an endless loop in this dual channel video, they bring into question perceptions of scale and distance.
-The Silent Chorus is a two channel video on small vintage televisions where two piles of black and white dust rapidly succumb to erosion by gusts of wind, offering illusions of purity and perfection as they mix to form a cloud, a short commentary on temporality and the law of entropy.
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.