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RACHAEL GORCHOV studio visit

It is generally agreed that there are different kinds of representations of space and time. One being perspectival representations which are viewpoints that are dependent on the way that spatial and temporal positions and relations are represented and are relative to one's own position in space or time. And in contrast, objective representations which are independent of one's position in space or time and thus we can easily recognize objects when seen from different viewpoints.


Are perspectival and objective representations independent of one another or do they interact with each other? Rachael Gorchov engages with this question in her practice. Her wall dependant ceramic work and her rock and shadow sculptures relate and interact together in a way that shifts perspective and how temporal relationships interact.  


Landscape and architectural drawing are fundamental in Gorchov’s wall dependant ceramics which are based on architectural structures drawn by looking with a Claude Glass or through a fisheye lens. Gorchov explains, “I began using a Claude Glass, a convex black mirror popularized in the 18th century to move away from a photographic point of view that seemed to be present in my paintings.” This shift in dimensional perspective allows Gorchov to draw from her ‘eyes’ perspective. This is inherent in her work because it feels more like drawing from life.


The architecture is imperative in a way because of its ephemeral quality. Imagery based on Viennese synagogues that Gorchov draws are taken from books because they no longer exist and buildings are sketched before being demolished. These drawings become a documentation of lost spaces.  


“If I had to make a sweeping generalization about the architecture, places and spaces I choose to work with and why, it's the shifting purpose and history of these places - how collective memory is kept and forgotten, and how making art about places deemed 'ordinary,' can be an important and dare I say a subversive act,” Gorchov shares.


An example, “is an empty corporate park last owned by Aetna, the health insurance company a friend and colleague, Essye Klempner and I spent a day drawing and documenting about five years ago. We each made art about our visit. At the time a realtor had semi-inhabited the space, looking for new tenants, however, the buildings were recently demolished. I personally think the architecture and surroundings were too out-of-date both in function and style. Now, our work about the place suddenly occupies a different place. It serves as this document of an 'ordinary' easily forgotten place in a landscape of temporary architecture.”


But then in contrast and in unity Gorchov’s floor sculptures are studies of light and shadow affecting space abstractly. These shapes and their shadow relate, in my opinion, on a deeper level to Kant’s philosophical ideas on space and time.


“Space is not something objective and real, nor a substance, nor an accident, nor a relation; instead, it is subjective and ideal, and originates from the mind’s nature in accord with a stable law as a scheme, as it were, for coordinating everything sensed externally.” Immanuel Kant, Inaugural Dissertation of 1770, (Ak 2: 403)


When one learns to draw it is always through observation, one’s own perspectival representations.  The first lessons you may have is to set up a sphere and cast light on it then draw the object and shadow to create the 3-dimensional qualities. These 3-dimensional qualities give you permission to adjust your perspective and release yourself from the perspectival into more objective and in contrast but related subjective representations. Although Gorchov sculptures hold fundamental theories of drawing near, they explore the volumetric realms of space and temporal identities in an experimental nature with enchanting results.


Gorchov will be participating in an artist in residence at Cooper Union, NY for all of July. Which will culminate in an exhibition in August with the five other residents. During this time Gorchov plans on making large-scale installations with paintings on paper and foam 'rocks. The work will be based on imagery that she has been collecting over the course of the past year.


-Laura Horne, May 18, 208

Images courtesy of the artist

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