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Orly Cogan

Page 1 | Biography

BACHELOR GIRL - ORLY COGAN at Julia Friedman Gallery - Nudes on vintage fabrics provide witty contrast. - To paraphrase an old song, Orly Cogan enjoys being a girl, and her embroidered nudes offer a flip, hip irreverent take on the conventions of femininity. She achieves her signature look by stitching figures on dainty vintage fabrics. These found linens, which once served as table runners, bureau scarves and tablecloths in a more modest age, were already embroidered once by an earlier and more circumscribed generation of women. Cogan adds to these quaint decorations a layer of attitude that updates old-fashioned womanly crafts with a kind of happy-go-lucky postmodern perversity.
Thus we see prim rows of flowers and leaves forming a bower for the bachelor girl’in a series of soft-porn stitcheries that appears to be a kind of self-portrait of the artist with snack food. She is shown not just eating but smashing soft pastries into her mouth or against her body while staring provocatively at us and wearing nothing but panties and striped ankle socks.
The portrait Cogan offers of life as a ‘bachelor girl’ looks like loads of fun. There's nothing in here about paying the rent or even getting dressed. The world she shows us is one of pleasure and self-absorption with occasional drop in visits from like-minded nude males. When she's not eating or playing suggestive games with hand puppets, Cogan's bachelor girl lounges around talking on her cell phone and hugging her cat. And she stays voluptuous and pretty, no matter how many Hostess cupcakes and Pop Tarts she eats. What a life. The character Cogan creates is sort of a 21st-century female Hugh Hefner in much scantier pajamas. The trick here is that she's Playboy centerfold and playgirl all at once. She gets to keep her cake and eat it too. All this would just be propaganda for a point of view no one seriously disagrees with anymore except that Cogan's rendering is so appealing and so deftly integrated with the vintage fabrics she uses that the effect ends up being more than just the sum of its parts. The works are both decorative and witty. The embroideries are fairly primitive, made of neat basting stitches that clearly draw her subjects but without any of the subtlety of the originals that earlier generations of women sweated over with cramped fingers.
All the work is hand stitched embroidery on vintage linens,2004/2003.
It is this combination of old and new, painstaking craft with a modern sensibility that makes it work. And although the carefree hedonism Cogan offers up is lovely to look at, part of her point is that it wouldn't exist without the untold hours of labor the bachelor girl's great grandmother invested to make it possible. - TEXT BY MARGARET HAWKINS, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, January 2, 2004
Orly Cogan
New York, NY
New York
North America

T: 917 533 4523

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Orly Cogan
Carl Hammer Gallery
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