Beauty of the Burden: Genevieve Cohn's New Paintings Transformed Into Virtual Experience
One of the pleasures of art is witnessing exciting experimentations with presentation concepts, and one such effort is the recent project between Mindy Solomon Gallery and curator and creative director Ché Morales from Abstrkt. The two teamed up with artist Genevieve Cohn and designer Hanna Ali, for a unique virtual experience Beauty of the Burden, built around Cohn’s latest group of paintings.
The question of whether virtual presentations can replace or substitute personal experience of artwork in real life will evolve and continue to be discussed, But after months of socially distant lives, the art community is eager to showcase and enjoy creative works in some way, and who better to reimagine the experience than the makers themselves? We’ve looked at "online viewing rooms" that recreate the white spaces of galleries and art fairs, and now we're witnessing the evolution of these concepts and a merger with VR technology.
In this project, the paintings are "displayed" in a multi-story, abandoned ruin located atop a remote virtual rock in the midst of a pink sunset drenched ocean. Hanging on the remaining walls of a library, floral wallpapers, and imaginary structures, the work is accompanied by the poetry by Ally Young. Women working in a deeply saturated, slightly washed-out palette of warm pinks, yellows, and reds suggest a utopian female-centric community. Exploring the idea of nests, specifically the bowers of Satin Bowerbirds, Cohn portrays a subject collecting wood, building a structure, and luxuriating in some leisure time in between. In contrast to these images that promote camaraderie and communal spirit, the exhibition site is stripped of any human presence other than these women in the images, suggesting the demise of an unknown, parallel world.
"Recreating a real space really made no sense to me," the project curator Ché Morales told Juxtapoz about this undertaking. "I got sick of seeing people just recreating bland gallery experiences during this pandemic and thought to myself “why recreate the gallery when you can recreate the world?” With this in mind, the team decided to design a space with the artist. "A space that helps evoke the feelings of the artwork instead of just showing you tiny digital images in a digital white room," he explains. Keeping in mind that the purchase of art is secondary to its appreciation, visitors to the galleries are presented with a presentation focused on such an encounter. With hi-res images still being the easiest and favorite way of virtually examining the pieces, this project managed to elevate the overall experience with something springing from the mind of the artist who seeks to share the engagement. —Sasha Bogojev