elin o'Hara slavick
Until What Has Disappeared Appears

September 19 - November 2, 2013

The Cohen Gallery is pleased to announce Until What has Disappeared Appears featuring photographic works by elin o’Hara slavick. In this body of work slavick presents cyanotypes, pigment prints and silver gelatin prints of artifacts from the city of Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Museum Archive.

Hiroshima literally symbolizes the possibility of humans destroying each other and all life on the planet. It is a dormant topic because there is not language enough to address something so horrifically final.

One of arts most humanist functions is its ability to reside in hope, even in the face of immanent peril; to offer gestures of beauty in response to that which is beyond comprehension – total annihilation.

elin o’Hara slavick’s indexical images, while bearing witness to the effects of radiation, poetically evoke an imagined reconstruction of what was and factually what is, collectively. They invoke wonder past that of horror. The most binding element of elin’s imagery is her refusal to aestheticize (or to be more specific about) the pain and real suffering. Instead, she lets her subject matter reach beyond the identifiable and beyond representation. As such, they are images of consequence and a reaffirmation of beginning to understand everything that has been lost in present day terms.


This exhibition marks the recent publication of slavick's book, After Hiroshima, (Daylight Books, 2013) with an essay by James Elkins. Elkins writes, "Making images of ladders, bottles, combs, and leaves is a way ofsaying: I cannot represent what happened to people in Hiroshima, because I cannot re-present it as art. It’s not that the people who suffered could not, cannot, or should not, be represented: it is that they cannot be re-presented in a fine art context. All that is left for art is to look aside, at other things, at surrogates, at things so ordinary and empty that they evoke, unexpectedly but intensely, the world of pain. I am not sure if this is ethically sufficient, but I think in this case it feels ethically necessary."

o’Hara slavick’s images “are images of loss and survival, fragments and lives, architecture and skin, surfaces and invisible things, like radiation. Exposure is at the core of the author’s photographic project: exposure to radiation, to the sun, to light, to history - exposures made from radiation, the sun, light and historical artifacts” - DaylightBooks

CLICK for more about elin o'Hara slavick.
1, 2, 3. elin o'Hara slavick, Hair Comb, framed 3 views, Cyanotype
4. elin o'Hara slavick, Eucalpytus Bark, Cyanotype
5. elin o'Hara slavick, Two Leaves, Cyanotype
6. elin o'Hara slavick, One Leaf, four 8x10 sheets put together, Cyanotype

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