Feminist & artist. Writing & visuals.

Orly Cogan & her personal mythologies

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Orly Cogan is an artist based in New York who works primarily in textiles, using found tablecloths as a canvas. Her intimate, story-like pieces seek to challenge feminine archetypes - drug and cake consumption are some of the unsuspected gems that hide in plain sight within the girlish patterns. Evolving "from the personal mythology of my memories", her use of vintage fabrics extend this mythology back to women in previous generations and give her work a thought-provoking collaborative aspect.

Currently in the stage of moving into a new home and studio, I was able to speak to Orly and ask a couple of questions about what I found to be an interesting characteristic in her works.

I saw your interview at Volta 9 and you said something interesting about "telling a narrative story through the eyes of a child", that they see the world "uninhibited, reliant on the senses"; it reminded me of that quote from Picasso: "it took for four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child". What do you think draws artists to this point of view? 

There’s an immediacy and innocence to a young child’s art making.  There is also a purity of joy and complete lack of self-consciousness.  Children don’t dwell about the outcome and the need for approval hasn't kicked in yet so their artwork is often more about the journey and less about the destination.  It’s that kind of honesty that Picasso was probably referring to.

The "intimacy and vulnerability interchanged with fantasy and fairy tale" you spoke about, would you say that these are attributes of childhood, and do you think these get lost as we age?

Fantasy and reality is mixed for young children. There is a very thin line that separates fairytale from ordinary life and that is a wonderful thing for a child to hold on to for as long as possible. Difficult as it is I think as adults we try to get back to that kind of place through readying, movies and art.  Much of my art has dealt with this dichotomy in portraying the banal domestic realm versus the fairy tale narrative.

Orly Cogan Feminartist
Spin Cycle
Orly Cogan Feminartist

Orly Cogan Feminartist
Wonder of You
You can see more of Orly Cogan's art on her website, orlycogan.com.