Kevin Cooley is a multidisciplinary artist, working across the media of photography, video and installation–but above all, he is an explorer. In his photographic series ‘Take Refuge’, Cooley invites a viewer to explore human presence in a collection of landscapes captured worldwide.
In a statement about the series, Cooley describes his focus on human intervention in the environment to range from “rudimentary actions—like building fires, marking a path in a snowy landscape, and taking shelter in caves—to more sophisticated circumstances, such as a very powerful scientific laser beam piercing into the night sky.” Each mountain, canyon and cave fills a frame that is somewhere punctuated with the stark glow of man made light, contrasting with the deep blue and green tones of the natural setting. ‘Take Refuge’ takes this symbol of light to demonstrate and collate the ways in which humans attempt to understand, explore and control landscapes. As a result, the images exhibit both achievement and damage. By referring to the notion of ‘refuge’, Cooley reminds us that human experience is often in contention with classical forces of nature in such environments.