March 2012

Seth Koen: On Our San Francisco Watchlist

(Image: Seth Koen, Medusa, 2010, Wood, 5 w x 7.75 d x 63.5 h in., Arachne, 2010, Wood and thread, 6 w x 6 d x 69 h in.; Gregory Lind Gallery)

Seth Koen (b. 1971, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire)

I try to approach my work from the most basic level I can, recalling grade school art classes and backyard experiments, where we used glue, string, paper, rocks and whittled twigs to make interesting things. I have had some years of schooling and living since then that inform what I find interesting now. However, I still value following my whims and instincts, hoping to maintain a sense of play and interest as I continue to make objects.

Exploring my ideas this way, by making and then reacting to the results, allows me to satisfy my curiosities, often by accident. How will these two colors read next to each other? What if I use this color instead? How will this form look if made in fabric? Or wood? How does gravity affect it? How much weight will this thread bear? Can I carve this piece of wood any thinner? What is the minimal sculptural gesture needed to activate a room? How is this object affected by the space around it? How can I make a piece evocative without being too literal or specific? Ultimately, I hope to open a space in my work for many simultaneous readings, which move between the instinctual and the intellectual, connecting the functional and the transcendent.

Education: Fellowship at Kala Art Institue in Berkeley, 2011-present. Master of Fine Arts, Mills College, Oakland, CA, 2002. Bachelor of Arts, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, 1995.