Kopeikin Gallery is pleased to announce our first solo exhibition with photographer Jordie Oetken titled Crux. The exhibition will open on Saturday, July 14th with a closing reception for the artist from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on August 25th.
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Jordie Oetken’s evocative imagery and cropping creates abstract compositions that are jarringly graceful interpretations of struggle. Crux examines the tension and dichotomy between opposing forces, desires and directions as if manifesting our own internal battles.
The artist’s background in painting and sculpture is evident as she layers limbs and forms creating compositions that are reminiscent of Baroque paintings or Hellenistic Greek sculptures. Oetken’s scale, lighting and compositional containment maintains a continuous tension. “The photographic frame plays an essential role in this body of work, intentionally using its containment to heighten each happening,” the photographer explains. “Female limbs cross in and out of the image; hands graze the edge, though each figure’s face always remains just out of view— affording closeness while maintaining distance.”
The images initially evoke violence, only to reveal a tenderness the longer you spend with each. This uncertainty emphasizes her concepts of struggle or opposition as you find your own psyche in opposition of what you are seeing. The faceless subjects and their anonymity also maintain this confusion. We are forced to question reality versus fiction, the subjects’ relationships and our own situational judgement. The notion of struggle implies the opposition of multiple forces; it suggests divergent goals or fighting for your own separate intention. The artist asks us to analyze what it means to help someone, to hold someone, to oppose someone or to trust someone, ultimately leading us to uncover the similarities between experiences of tenderness and violence.
Oetken is a recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship and studied at the Yale/Norfolk School of Art. She has a BFA from Murray State University in 2013 and graduated with an MFA in photography from UCLA in 2017. She has participated in residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center and most recently the Lighthouse Works Fellowship Program in New York.