PATCHOGUE ARTS COUNCIL • MOCA L.I.
ELEMENTAL by Tobi Kahn
Curated by Beth Giacummo
November 19, 2022 – January 29, 2023
Reception: November 20, 2022, from 3:00 – 6:00PM
Program and Gallery Talk with Tobi Kahn: November 20, 2022 at 4:30 PM
Patchogue Arts Council • Museum of Contemporary Art L.I. is excited to present a special solo exhibition ELEMENTAL by Tobi Kahn.
This exhibition will be on view November 19, 2022 – January 29, 2023. A reception will be hosted on November 20 from 3:00 – 6:00 PM, with a gallery talk at 4:30 PM.
The exquisite surfaces of the works in ELEMENTAL, in their complex textures, are an invitation to the viewer to navigate and explore the intensity of the natural world, setting the direction for an individual path of discovery. The subtle, captivating glow of each piece, with its blooms and bursts of color, evokes familiar landforms and transformational shapes. Disentangling distractions from nature, Khan leaves the essence of beauty allowing the images to present themselves as structure and form, providing the opportunity for contemplation.
These works are a reminder that all we love in nature is at risk. The power of the images stands in contrast to the fragility of what is being summoned, a tension that compels us to consider our relationship to nature and our impact on the environment.
In Elemental, Kahn offers his work as a profound guide to the correspondence between our inner selves, the natural world—and beyond.
My paintings are based on photographs I’ve taken, distilling or refining images to get to an irreducible core, a form that issingular, yet capable of evoking myriad, even infinite others. I am fascinated by fractal geometry – the way an orchid’s shape corresponds to a cell or a constellation.
This paradox of micro/macro animates my recent work on nature, in which I created images that resembled one another under amicroscope, but also through a telescope.In recent years, we have witnessed a world at the mercy of extreme climate change, unleashing its elements – hurricane winds, floodwaters, wildfires – in unprecedented ways.
The paintings in this body of work reflect my awareness that nature is veryfragile and that we are responsible for its protection.The natural world is tragic but no less beautiful in this moment, even as it reminds us of our betrayals. The bleached forms ofcoral reefs offer mute testimony as they reach upward from the seabed. Calving glaciers produce a sublime spectacle as they crash into the water anddisperse on the currents. Even the color of flowers, essential to attracting a dwindling number of pollinators, is changing. We arestewards of the world, not its masters.
All my life, I’ve been enthralled by the beauty and power of nature. Now, the vulnerability of the natural world has become thecore of my work. I want to deepen my practice of painting as an act of care for what is disappearing; to explore the relationship of fragility to scale by making paintings that are larger than the body, sublimating our domination; and to collaborate with the viewer in travelling inward. The natural world is making its immediate claims on all of us, demanding a response. – Tobi Kahn
About Tobi Kahn
Tobi Kahn is a painter and sculptor whose art has been shown in over 70 solo museum exhibitions. Works by Kahn are in major museum collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX; The Phillips Collection, DC; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and The Jewish Museum, NYC. His traveling museum exhibitions include Tobi Kahn: Metamorphoses; Avoda: Objects of the Spirit; Microcosmos; Tobi Kahn: Sky & Water; and Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century.
Kahn has been commissioned to create numerous installations including SHALEV, an outdoor sculpture, New Harmony, IN; EMET, a meditative space for the HealthCare Chaplaincy, NYC; two sculptural Holocaust memorial gardens, La Jolla, CA, and Tenafly, NJ; M’AHL, a floor installation in the exhibition Rendering the Unthinkable, 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC as well as two bronze memorial sculptures for the Grey Art Gallery of NYU and the 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC; a meditative space for Auburn Theological Seminary, NYC; and an outdoor sculpture installation and painting for the East Falls campus of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.
In 2022, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. installed a unit of 7 paintings that are part of the museum’s permanent collection with works from 1997-2020. The exhibition was on view from February-July 2022 and received media coverage in Forbes, The Brooklyn Rail and Hyperallergic to name a few.
Kahn’s work is the subject of two solo traveling museum exhibitions. ELEMENTAL: A Decade of Paintings by Tobi Kahn will open November 2022 at the Patchogue Arts Council – MoCA L.I. – Museum of Contemporary Art Long Island. FORMATION: Images of the Body opened at the Dadian Gallery at the Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion in Washington, D.C. and then traveled to the Brother Kenneth Chapmann Gallery at Iona University.
Kahn also communicates his vision through his passion for teaching. For over 30 years, he has taught fine arts at the School of Visual Arts, NYC and lectures extensively at universities and public forums internationally on the importance of visual language and on art as healing.
A published catalog is available for purchase. All proceeds support PAC • MoCA L.I.