“The goal is to make the eyes dance,” Kagan has said. Her work in fact does that and more. The vicarious dance it induces often affects the entire body, as viewers travel imaginatively among the twisting, interwoven threads depicted with 3D precision in her drawings and paintings. The spatial complexity in Kagan’s earlier sculpture and installation works—such as Sweater (2006), a twining, space-devouring collaboration by six artists under the direction of well-known multi-medium veteran Tim Hawkinson—is now compacted into a single picture plane.

...As graphic works and paintings, Kagan’s images extend a perceptual phenomenon first knowingly exploited in Impressionism and Pointillism. At a distance, the picture is highly representational; as one approaches, it progressively dissolves into a purely abstract collection of vibrant marks.

Such shifting apprehension is paralleled by the fact that Kagan’s depicted forms, though derived from commonplace thread, echo two fundamental extremes of existence. On one hand, they recall DNA strands and other microscopic essential-to-life biological entities; on the other, they evoke the strands that knit the universe together in the “string theory” currently much debated among theoretical physicists. Kagan’s images are thus a visual and physiological counterpart to the underlying questions that fascinate her. Where are we in the vast scheme of things? Are there meaningful patterns to our lives?

Excerpt from Richard Vine text

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