Aidan Koch’s Always Put the Rock Back

Isabel’s Bed, 2020 Wood, memory foam, hand-stitched silk fabric, rock 7 × 8 × 13 inches
Images courtesy of the artist and Park View / Paul Soto
Photos by Jeff Mclane

There’s a heaviness to the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest—a weight of chilled air that creeps around tree trunks and underbrush, slides over barnacled rocks along the shoreline. “Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints,” is an oft spotted reminder posted at the mouth of a trail, or nailed to a stump along a bluff. Born in Seattle, Washington, artist Aidan Kochs work explores our human tendency for anthropomorphism, focusing on its inherent potential rather than its more obvious shortcomings. On view at Paul Soto until March 28, Always Put the Rock Back is Koch’s latest exhibition, inspired by a small note she observed at a Nature Reserve urging visitors to leave the environment as they found it. Running the gamut from pastels and gouache illustrations, to small-scale sculptures, Koch’s multiple mediums accommodate the myriad gestures through which we bear an allegiance to nature. A small bed—an emblem of comfort and home—cradles a rock, connoting a sense of security. Forest illustrations rendered in warmer hues call to mind arbutus trees emblazoned by the setting sun, casting dusky blue shadows. A snake coiled beneath a table suggests it’s an auteur of its own experience, choosing where it seeks refuge. Innocuous passerbys, slithering through our homes as we’ve comfortably and unquestioningly slithered through theirs. – Rebecca Storm

Two Horses in a Forest, 2020, Chalk pastel on paper 24 × 19 inches

Distant Mountains, 2020, Chalk pastel on paper 24 × 19 inches

Underwater Dreams, 2020, Animation on wood and paper lantern by Lightsong Exchange 25 × 11 1/2 × 12 inches

Stephen’s Bed, 2020, Wood, memory foam, fabric, rock 4 1/2 × 12 1/2 × 14 1/2 inches

The Canyon, 2020 Chalk pastel on paper 24 × 19 inches

Always Put the Rock Back is on view at Park View/Paul Soto, Los Angeles, until March 28th.