Sharon Kagan is a multidisciplinary artist who utilizes knitting, photography, drawing and painting as the foundation of her practice in seemingly abstract, richly patterned, luminous, mysterious, science- and wonderment-inflected images. Beginning with actual thread and rope, Kagan follows with the application of macro lens photography, the mediation of drawing and painting, and the expression of color. Her desire is to illuminate and give tangible form to the underlying, fractal patterns inside the fabric of matter and energy, the forces that connect the visible and invisible totality of the universe.
Her new project SOS Siren is a web-based archive and video storytelling platform in collaboration with Snezana Petrovic, a crowd-sourced discourse on silence and wisdom. And her current exhibition of politically resonant paintings and sculpture is on view at SHOW Gallery through December.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
SHARON KAGAN: I actually felt I was born a dancer. And I still see myself as such, that my work comes to me on a kinesthetic level. I declared myself as an artist in college after being admitted into the English department and had to fight my way into art classes and ultimately into the department.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
Whether it’s painting, sculpture, video or performance art, I create multiple entry points for an audience to experience a just, diverse, and inclusive world. I use knitting as a metaphor because you can create a complex form out of a single thread, however if it is cut, the entire structure will come unraveled.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would be teaching in an unconventional setting.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I went to UCLA for undergrad and Otis Art Institute for grad school. I needed time to develop my vision. I’d been working on The Dinner Party and could hear Judy Chicago’s voice in my head. It was time to find my own voice.
When was your first show?
I really think of my first exhibition as a video installation that I did in a porn hotel for my graduate thesis. My first exhibition outside of school was with Patricia Correia Gallery.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
I currently have an exhibition, The Politics of Color at SHOW Gallery in West Hollywood. [It’s open by appointment through December.]
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Richard Pousette-Dart. When I saw his paintings in the Spiritual in Art exhibition at LACMA I wept. There was one painting that made my whole body vibrate. The desire to create that response with my work is what drives me.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
I would say I work on a wide spectrum from silence to music to books on tape. My musical interests are extremely diverse; anything from disco to get me moving to opera, country, Deva Premal, american standards, folk, feminist artists like Holly Near…
Website and social media handles, please!