In his first solo exhibition in nearly two years, artist Kim Cogan makes his debut at Arcadia Contemporary.
His work lying somewhere between realism and surrealism, painter Kim Cogan seeks to give visual voice to that which is not visible. “The Other Side” is the San Francisco artist’s first solo exhibition in nearly two years and his first at Arcadia Contemporary in New York City. In it, Cogan endeavors to re-create how we recall our memories by “piecing together abstract memories with the palpable nostalgia of a distinct time and place,” as the gallery states it. The resulting paintings appear dream-like, hazy, and somewhat fragmented.

Kim Cogan, “Dollhouse,” 2015, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in. (c) Arcadia Contemporary

The gallery continues, “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.” Nostalgia and a longing for the past characterize well Cogan’s “Banquet,” which displays the energetic and chaotic scene of a childhood birthday party. In a painting that reads like a snapshot found in a dusty photo album, the presumed birthday girl stands, gazing out at the viewer and waving. The overall impression of the canvas is one of clearly delineated forms with soft details, not unlike one’s recollection of a past event. One figure to the left edge of the canvas is missing a head as the neck blends into the wall.

Kim Cogan, “1970s,” 2015, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 in. (c) Arcadia Contemporary 2015

“Dollhouse” produces a similar effect, composed to resemble a photograph. Perhaps recalling the excitement of a Christmas morning or birthday-gift unwrapping, three girls in their nightgowns sit and stand in a living room around empty boxes and a dollhouse. Despite the relative lack of detail, individualistic qualities do emerge from the subjects. As in “Banquet,” the lighting in “Dollhouse” also recalls the brief — but bright — flash of a camera bulb.

Kim Cogan, “Last Call,” 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (c) Arcadia Contemporary 2015

Cogan confirms this initial impression. “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 gallery notes, “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.”
“Kim Cogan: The Other Side” opened on September 17 and will be on view through October 4.
To learn more, visit Arcadia Contemporary.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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