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Gallery Walk-through | Peter Cochrane: The Magician Longs to See

December 26, 2023 @ 1:00 pm

PeterCochrane Athenaeum

January 20–April 13, 2024

Gallery Walk-through: Saturday, January 20, 1 PM, free


PETER COCHRANE: The Magician Longs to See

In The Magician Longs to See, Peter Cochrane presents an alchemical tale about the natural world and humanity, using stories of life, death, and the human desire to preserve. Cochrane draws inspiration from indigenous plants in his home state of California and from the Athenaeum’s own botanical archives. Darkroom prints and abstractions of roses, pine cones, and other local plantings recreate traces of life that once lived in and around the library, including the Torrey pine that stood as a sentinel for the building’s entrance, and climbing roses proposed by Kate Sessions for a 1921 garden renovation. Cochrane’s interest in horticultural and photographic histories also considers the optical manifestation of the alchemical pursuit—the transformation of lead into gold—through which, working with analog photographic processes, metals, and translations, the artist explores the materiality of elements across humanity’s attempts at preservation.

Cochrane, born in San Diego, California, depicts stories of resilience and metamorphosis through the lenses of horticulture, art history, science fiction, and autobiography. Working in materials ranging from the 8 x 10 inch film camera to digital imaging and experimental darkroom photographic techniques, the artist builds elaborate narrative set pieces that explore fundamental questions of human existence and cosmic time. Cochrane’s work has appeared in Headmaster, The San Francisco Chronicle, Vast Magazine, Hyperallergic, Brink, Artslant, the MoCP lecture series, the de Young Museum, the Vermont Center for Photography, the Tokyo International Photo Awards, and others. He is a recipient of the Snider Prize and has been a finalist for many awards, including the Hopper Prize, the Fine Art Photography Award, the Exposure Award, and the Kodak Photo Film Award. In 2022, he was nominated for the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography. He has held several solo exhibitions nationally, and his work is held in public and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Cochrane received a BA from San Francisco State University and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The exhibition can be viewed in the Joseph Clayes III and Rotunda Galleries at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037) during open hours, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


December 26, 2023
1:00 pm
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Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
1008 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037 United States
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(858) 454-5872
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