As a part of our ongoing partnership with the San Francisco-based arts publication Art Practical, today we bring you a review by Matt Stromberg of the exhibition Falling From Great Heights at Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles.
Falling from Great Heights, the current exhibition at the Stephen Cohen Gallery, takes its title from a quotation by the astronomer Carl Sagan that addresses the sublime and ineffable nature of the universe: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the cosmos stir us—there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”I The three artists in the show, Siri Kaur, John Knuth, and Heather Rasmussen, each convey this sense of awe and wonder when confronted with the unknown and the unknowable. Interestingly, they all employ photography—a medium that is often considered to be objective—to create images that call into question the veracity of what they depict.
Siri Kaur’s selections from her series Half of the Whole (2010–13) align most literally with Sagan’s assertion. The first room of the gallery is hung salon-style with Kaur’s ethereal, abstract photographs that resemble various natural phenomena. Some of the images, which vary in size, contain patches of green, blue, and brown, suggesting views of the Earth from above, while others, in bright pink on white, recall microscopic views of the body’s interior.