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Date Minted:  December 13, 2020

Artist Description: ANESTHESIA (Subsequent Dreams series). Submerge your senses into the black.  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

The first thing I noticed about k0ch’s work is how intuitively he uses and manipulates the four edges of the frame around his artwork. For most artists —and this is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, neither here nor there— those four walls are inhibitors, things either to be disregard entirely, or things representing the limits of one’s artistry. K0ch, however, uses them almost as co-conspirators. And in works, like ANESTHESIA, which bear resemblance to terrariums, (although of a more abstract and geometric and cosmic kind than we have here on Earth) those four walls act just as they are meant to act. They close in, yes, but they also contain and order. They have a representational ability to impart meaning just as much as the objects within them does. When I look at the four walls here in ANESTHESIA, I think terrarium and I think petri dish, and with that kind of association in mind, we can thereafter order the otherwise extremely abstract information within. Because all we’ve got to go on otherwise are these shapes, shapes without specific names and shapes which change in real time, shapes which bear fleeting resemblance to cells or water droplets or galactic entities. Arranged in a kind of Zen Garden, where smaller rectangular walls contain unlike entities —so I guess there are elements of collage too— the individual aspects of ANESTHESIA don’t have any physical relationship to one another, but because of the four walls which outline them, the implication is that they share an ecosystem, are nodes in a larger system. And examining ANESTHESIA through this lens, as if we’re seeing not a preconceived art piece but as a constantly-evolving system, well that’s just a fascinating possibility. And it’s unique. And it’s rich. And all it takes is K0ch treating four walls as equals. 

ANESTHESIA is broken up into four parts, which we might as well call, Green, Red, Blue, and Black. Let’s look at them in that order.

Green: This is the section I referred to earlier as seeming almost like individual cells. Within a long bright green rectangle, countless bright green shapes —though only in outline, they are otherwise hollow—collide with each other, gently jiggling and changing form and appearing to writhe in place. What’s actually happening is that certain of these “cells” have pivoting walls within them, straight lines which swivel on single fulcrum points, and as the lines move back and forth, so too move the cells nearby, which moves some of the cells nearby those cells, and so the entire thing has the appearance of constant movement, like a mass of maggots, even though there is no actual “going” anywhere. In spots, these shapes are so small and dense that they collectively appear like the lined edges of larger, more-defined shapes, and indeed, within the larger rectangle are the suggestion of two half-circles, one connected to each of the rectangle’s lengthwise walls. In the center of the top half-circle (itself formed by a collection of tiny writhing polygons), we find a small spot of glowing bright light: no shapes, no movement, just brightness.

Red: Two Japanese characters —a common inclusion in K0ch’s artwork— occupy the northern and southernmost points of a spray-painted circle. The saturation of the colors —boy that red is really dark and luscious and blood-like— is unique within the piece, as the other colors in the other segments are more neon-oriented. 

Blue: Mesmerizing and within another set of four walls —though these walls create a perfect square— a series of concentric squares emerge from the outline of a larger square, become progressively smaller and smaller, eventually fading into the total blackness in the square’s center. The smaller squares are all neon-blue in outline, although like everything else, they are only outlines, with no substantial body inside their walls. Walls walls walls. A lot of walls in this piece, huh? A lot of outlines.

Black: Here, I’m referring to the background of the piece, a densely-layered spiderweb of straight lines and all manner of individual polygons, of the same type that are contained in the Green segment. These, however, don’t move. They are all coated in a greyish-white color, and perhaps that’s why I’m reminded of spiderwebs, but yes, regardless, there’s something organic about them, whether when they bunch up together in honeycomb formation to create larger pustules with an illusion of depth, or whether they are caked together in a sequence of lines like silk bridges across an expanse of nothingness. 

That feeling of looking at an organic ecosystem is quite prevalent, and not altogether pleasing. The environment we see here seems, now that I’ve written about it, certainly closer to a Petri Dish than to a Terrarium, if only because the nature of the shapes conjures associations of viruses and bacterium, of swarming insects, of cancers and growths and globules and tumors. Though the Blue and Red sections of the piece seem to counteract this effect, they are too small, and they command too little attention, to overtake the effect on this piece that the other parts impose. They seem like areas of abandonment, voids in the piece (invaders?) as opposed to things that properly belong within it. Even with that reading, they seem corrupt. Corruption, of one kind or another, spreads rampantly through this piece. Maybe that’s why we need anesthesia itself, because ANESTHESIA is full of noxious things.

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