Orly Cogan: Holding On + Letting Go

Sat, Oct 28, 2023
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Tracey Morgan Gallery
188 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, USA
Tracey Morgan Gallery

Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Holding On & Letting Go, an exhibition of textile-based work by New York artist Orly Cogan. This is Cogan’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. An opening reception with the artist will be held Friday, September 15 from 6-8PM.

Using vintage fabrics such as table clothes, bed linens, and dish towels as her base material, Cogan adds hand interventions of embroidery, crochet, appliqué and paint, layering contemporary imagery onto repurposed textiles, engaging with ideas of feminism, beauty, art history, fairy tales, fantasy, and desire. Through semi-erotic depictions of the human figure, Cogan creates contrasting visual dialogues with traditional foundations associated with femininity and domesticity.

Cogan sees her work as in collaboration with the original makers of the fabrics she uses, which were most likely handmade by women of past generations. The act is both subversive and playful – honoring the craft of other artisans while co-opting their wares to explore sexuality and presumptions about gender roles.

While the recent works selected for this exhibition continue Cogan’s interest into the many facets of feminism and eroticism, they more broadly explore themes of attachment/detachment in interpersonal relationships, family, and work. They look at the paradox of parenting (Cogan is mother to a teenager), in which parents must simultaneously be protectors and providers, while allowing their children to find their own identities on their own terms. Cogan notes this challenge is surprisingly like the process of art making, which necessitates the artist letting go of preconceived notions of the final piece to create.

Included with the two-dimensional framed, stretched, and free hanging works is an installation in the center of the gallery, Confections (2006-ongoing). Comprised of entirely fabricated crocheted and knitted cakes and other desserts, this piece looks at indulgence and temptation, again using a traditionally “feminine” trope to unpack the many aspects of human longing.

Orly Cogan was born in Israel and educated at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC and The Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been exhibiting her work throughout the US and Europe for over two decades and has been at the forefront of the fiber arts movement, with an emphasis on Feminism in contemporary art. Cogan has been included in a number of notable national and international museum and university exhibitions, including The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT; The Museum of Arts & Design, NY; Riverside Museum, Riverside, CA; The Hudson River Museum, NY; The Textile Museum of Toronto, Canada (with Judy Chicago); The Rijswijk Textile Biennial in The Museum Rijswijk; and at The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Oslo among others. Cogan’s work is found in various public and private collections including The Museum of Arts & Design, NY and MIT. She has curated several acclaimed group exhibitions in NYC. Cogan’s work has been published in several books and museum catalogues. Reviews of her work are included in the New York Times, New American Paintings, the Los Angeles Times, W Magazine, Elle, Art in America, Art News, and Art Forum, among many others. She currently lives and work in New York, NY.