FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seth Koen - Ellipsis
January 24 - March 1, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday, February 7, 5:30-7:30 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:30-5:30 PM
Artist Seth Koen's new body of work, "Ellipsis," expands the formal language of his previous work, which included utility-defying, three-dimensional drawings composed of soft, crocheted balls sitting atop shelves or affixed to long cords. Like Koen's previous work, the new pieces are suffused with a spirit that is both mathematical in its conciseness and wryly whimsical in its self-referential nod to craft and aesthetic possibility.
Deceptively simple, Koen's work has typically included materials such as yarn, thread, and needle. In his new work, however, Koen supplements his ambiguous forms and crocheted, orb-like sculptures with hand-carved wooden pieces that interact quietly with the softer components. The wooden forms themselves are hand-whittled and sanded from maple stock. In addition to evoking the rustic aesthetic of the artisan, the wooden pieces are understated objects that simultaneously embody both pictoral and physical space, simple lines and concrete forms.
Koen's monochromatic combinations of balls, loops, and lines seem to draw inspiration from the bricolage of a children's art class. However, his unembellished, ostensibly uncomplicated materials interact in ways that ultimately defy spectators' expectations. While Koen's work evokes a sense of childlike play and rudimentary experimentation, his minimal use of color, form, and shape points to a gestural purity that reduces his pieces to their basic elements while seemingly transforming them into neat analogies for far more complex phenomena.
Koen's work is invested in the non-specificity of any given form, and each piece is meant to stimulate a response or emotion without pointing to a literal source. For instance, his perplexing mobiles-which often connect forms of different weights by virtue of a single, tenuous piece of yarn-may summon not only the contingencies of gravity, but also the structure of the solar system, given the interpretive range of each piece. These are works that inhere in a terrain that is both instinctual and intellectual, and call notice to themselves as both objects and imaginary spaces.
Seth Koen is originally from Maine. He received his BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Koen currently lives in Sacramento, CA and works as an assistant to the sculptor Ron Nagle in San Francisco. He has shown widely in the U.S., including shows in the San Francisco Bay Area at Gregory Lind Gallery, Richmond Art Center, Adobe Books, Rena Bransten Gallery, Headlands Center for the Arts, and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery; Brewery Project, Los Angeles; Chela, Baltimore; and Hafemann Gallery, Wiesbaden, Germany. Koen has been featured in publications such as Art in America, Sculpture, Artweek, and American Craft. He has been the recipient of the Cadogan and Trefethen Fellowships, and the Jay Defeo Prize. This is his third solo show at Gregory Lind Gallery.