Beyond the White Cube: Dennis Koch. Works on Paper

Walking into Dennis’ studio, I was immediately transported into his technicolor world.

I wasn’t very familiar with his work but left excited to tell everyone about his amazing colored-pencil drawings. His study of the scientific and natural world and his  engagement with theories of order and chaos are fascinating.  Those of you familiar with my blog know that I’m always in search of talented artists whose conceptual practice is as strong as their aesthetics. Is the work both visually engaging and conceptually-sound? Yes. And yes.  Can you count how many brilliant shades of blue? Because I couldn’t there were so many – down to his t-shirt and pants.  Yves Klein would feel at home here.

Yasmine Mohseni: What are you working on right now?Dennis Koch: My recent show at Marine Contemporary included a drawing called, “Saturnian Time Matrix”.  It’s a piece that resembles a wobbly, polarized, Seirpinski triangle.  I think the Seirpinski triangle is a particularly prescient geometric structure since we’re currently living through the toppling of various well-cloaked ponzi schemes.  So, since the show, I’ve been making a variety of smaller pieces exploring this type of geometric fractal.

Describe your style?

For the last five years I’ve been making drawings that employ a lot of repetition and recursion.  

In the beginning, I wasn’t aware of the meditative qualities inherent in this type of methodology.  I knew that I needed to give my hand a repetitive task, like in knitting or braiding, so that my mind could focus on something else.  I found it to be an effective way to build-up muscle-memory in the mark-making. Incidentally, it’s also a good way to preoccupy the left hemisphere of the brain to get to all the fun, non-linear, holistic functions associated with the right hemisphere!…

This idea of hemispheric discontinuity has become a central theme to my Circle Set drawings, which often have two dissonant hemispheres encircling two blank occulets.  

But more generally, my work uses a form of geometric abstraction to address a variety of topics related to time, energy, equilibrium, connectivity, gravity or simply the law of attraction. 

Why did you become an artist?

In the third grade I made a drawing of rose garden after seeing Henri Rousseau’s, “The Dream”.  Upon finishing the drawing, I remember adding one thorn to each rose so I could say it was about the Poison song.

What inspires you?

Mother nature, old/new physics, geometry, sci-fi and sci-fact, mythology, fractals, spirals, circles, cymatics, inductive logic, and the solar system.  

What are your influences? Who are your favorite artists?

Ed Paschke, Dan Attoe, My Big Toe, My Barbarian, Mark Grotjahn, Terry Winters, John McCracken, Robert Smithson, Tony Smith, Bridget Riley, Sol LeWitt, Sun City Girls, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Levine, Rebecca Morris, Ann Magnuson, Carroll Dunham, David Foster Wallace, Maja D’Aoust, Matt Connors, Mark Hagen, Tim Hawkinson, Yayoi Kusama, Paul Klee, James Siena, James Woods, Ezra Woods, Jonas Wood, Brian Wills, Chris Johanson, Agnes Martin, Julian Hoeber, Rachel Harrison, Takashi Murakami, Gustavo Godoy, William J. O’Brien, Richard Burton, Michael Decker, Frank Stella, Stanley Kubrick, and Gibby Haynes.  

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