April 24 - June 19, 2010
Artist's Reception: April 24, 2010, 6 - 9pm
Charlie James Gallery is proud to present New York artist Orly Cogan in her first LA solo show, Love Street. Orly works with vintage, printed fabrics and updates them with personal, feminine imagery using embroidery and other sewing techniques. Her appropriation of vintage fabric items puts her in collaboration with her forebears, and her interventions result in unique, contemporary objects in which she is often the subject depicted. The personal tableaux that play across these quilts, table runners, and doilies illustrate different elements of contemporary identity. They ask questions about relationships, sources of emotional sustenance, and feminine archetypes. The juxtaposition of vintage feminine and contemporary feminist is a rich contrast that gives the work much its energy.
The roots of Orly’s work can be found in the craft-oriented feminism of the 1970s, epitomized by the work of Miriam Schapiro. As a post-modern feminist however, Orly’s work does more than project images of the Strong Woman, and Orly’s goals have moved beyond the elevation of isolated housewives and their underappreciated labors. Orly’s feminism springs not from a sense of biological or genetic determination, like the paradigm established by Schapiro’s generation, but emerges from her experience as a product of American culture. The images in her work do depict women in positions of strength (Shiva, Thinking of Venus), but they principally deal with some very personal preoccupations of contemporary womanhood. In Bittersweet Obsessions, Little Debbie, and The Affair, Orly meditates on the substitutes women use to get emotional sustenance. While she shares many similarities with other contemporary artists through her use of materials, Orly uses a lighter touch than is found in the political commentaries of Laura Splan and Ghada Amer, and more closely resembles the autobiographical work of Tracey Emin. Orly is telling her own stories as proxies for those of the contemporary American woman. At its best, her work communicates what it feels like for a woman – leading with broad emotional issues like rejection, love, fear, and desire. To see Orly’s arrestingly frank, personal images sewn upon kitschy vintage table runners is to understand immediately the many changes in the tenor of cultural expression between then and now, and in conflating today’s brand of cultural confessionalism with yesteryear’s kitschy conservatism her work encapsulates a sweeping arc of feminist history.
Orly Cogan was educated at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC and The Maryland Institute College of Art. Cogan has had solo exhibitions at galleries such as Steven Wolf Fine Arts in San Francisco, Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago and Byron Cohen Gallery in Kansas City. Cogan has been included in several notable museum exhibitions, including “Pretty Tough” – Contemporary Storytelling at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, “Pricked, Extreme Embroidery” at The Museum of Arts & Design in NYC, “Material Girls” at the Riverside Museum, and many others. Cogan’s work has been published in several museum catalogs and books. Her reviews include, The New York Times, The Chicago Sun Times, The Reader, NY Press, Art Press Magazine, W Magazine, Elle, Fiber Arts, Textile Plus, Surface Design, Art In America, Tema Celeste, Interior Design, Art News, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York, The American Art Collector and Art Forum. Orly lives and works in New York City.