String Theory: Mixed Media Work by Sharon Kagan

March 21, 2019 - July 7, 2019

Multi-disciplinary artist Sharon Kagan’s artwork reflects the profoundly felt character of her life that is interwoven with the history of the 20th century’s darker moments—but is transcended by a brighter wisdom that prevailed. The daughter of Lithuanian immigrants and Holocaust survivors, her family moved to Los Angeles before she was a year old.

The wartime experience of her parents as partisans, particularly the efforts of her mother who risked her life many times, has been a profound inspiration for Kagan. She notes that her mother didn’t think of herself as an artist, but says that she “inherited her amazing hand skills” that included knitting, sewing, and embroidery.

After her mother died in 2003, Kagan recounts that knitting became a way of “soothing the grief …. After the deepest part of my grief had passed, I realized that I found the way to translate that experience” of vibrational oneness from decades earlier, joined with a personal sense of rupture, continuity, and the pursuit of inner freedom. The work that resulted began with knitting hemp string and rope, then photographing it, and drawing on the enlarged image. More recent drawings and paintings on canvas have introduced color and pattern into the enlarged images, to achieve the artist’s intention: “I am working to make the eyes dance.”