22 October - 28 November 2015

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce Ravine, a solo exhibition of large format photographs by American photographer, Kate Cordsen.


Exploring the boundaries between reality and perception, Cordsen uses ponds and rivers as photographic filters in her Ravine series. Viewed through watery veils, she transforms sumptuous landscapes into dream-like, alternate universes. By capturing the ephemeral in a large-scale format, her work emphasizes nature’s dynamic immateriality while presenting her remarkable ability to extract emotive qualities from the natural world.


This distinct elegance is the result of a variety of Western and Eastern influences converging. Her painterly photographs have the shimmering qualities of a Klimt landscape and the sheer, layered washes of a Whistler painting – both significant artists to Cordsen. Her work is also assiduously affected by her deep understanding of Asian aesthetics and philosophies. The meditative quality imbued in her work is drawn from Buddhist teachings about heightened perception. The flattened perspective and use of pattern and line in her compositions is an obvious connection to traditional Chinese and Japanese artistic devices. Trained as an art historian in Chinese and Japanese art, Cordsen spent years living and traveling in Asia, absorbing these elements and paring them with her own sense of expression.


Cordsen also spent time as a Ford model in Tokyo which proved to be formative in her artistic development and is apparent in this body of work. While modeling for Japanese avant-garde fashion designers Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, she obtained an ardent regard for the Japanese emphasis on the geometrics of light and appreciation of translucence. “Harmonious geometric shapes have an emotional quality to me as much as the natural landscape. They both represent an organic feeling and intellect.” (Cordsen).


Cordsen earned a BA in East Asian Studies and the History of Art from Washington & Lee University where she was the first woman to receive an undergraduate degree. She holds an MPP from Georgetown University and has studied the History of Art at Harvard University as well as Photography at the International Center of Photography. Recent group exhibitions include The Benton Museum, Harvard University and the International Center of Photography. Kate Cordsen’s photographs are in private collections worldwide and have been published in The New York Times and Elle Décor, among others.