In his multidisciplinary art practice, Kevin Cooley works with elemental forces of nature to question systems of knowledge as they relate to our perceptions and experience of everyday life. Using photography, video, and installation, he creates frameworks though which to observe experimental and performative gestures to decipher our complex, evolving relationships to nature, to technology, and ultimately to each other.
In Controlled Burns, swirling and imposing clouds of smoke contend with one another in a physical battle between diametrically opposing explosions of black and white. From a structuralist point of view, this imagery serves as metaphor for binary opposition, e.g. good vs. evil or day vs. night, yet this is not the sole line of inquiry. Inspired by the smoke signals of the recent Papal conclave which uses smoke as form of basic communication, this series is apart of a larger artistic practice focusing on human relationships to nature.
Fire is a powerful natural force that we harness for greater good, and it is the only Classical element, that we can create on demand, yet when out of control it has the potential for grave destruction. Controlled burns, is a visual representation of an inherent duality in how we interact with nature, symbolizing our desire to conquer and control nature, reminding us that sometimes we must fight fire with fire.