Isa Gagarin: Risåki (Receding Wave)
Painter, printmaker, and sculptor, Isa Gagarin works in a site-responsive manner to create tactile environments that are rooted in place. Informed by traditional color-theory on the one hand, and her careful observations of nature, light, and her surroundings on the other, she creates spaces and compositions that hover between abstraction and representation. For The Regional, Gagarin has created a new work that responds to her research into indigenous Pacific Islander navigation technologies. Rather than using a sextant or a compass, these communities commonly use their outstretched hand as a tool for determining direction by measuring the angle and distance between oneself and the sun. The work’s composition, rendered in pieces of crumpled newsprint, features abstracted hand forms, layered upon imperfect, organic, water-like semi-circles. The shades of cool blue and grey, flecks of bright orange, yellow, and pink are a nod to a quintessential aspect of the Midwestern landscape—the prairie. Wayfinding and navigation can be seen as a metaphor for the social and political reorientation needed in America today. Risåki (Receding Wave) explores the relationship between body and place, and the power that something as subtle as a shift in the way we see, might trigger greater shifts in consciousness and therefore, in action.
This work is a part of The Regional, which is curated by Amara Antilla and Jade Powers, and was conceived in collaboration with Courtenay Finn. The exhibition is co-organized by Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.