Blending the heraldic with the optical, August Krogan-Roley’s Empty Coats each present themselves as a pictorial game. Littered with cues – winding roads to follow, carved out recesses to occupy, and barriers mounted to intrusive vision – they stem from the artist’s ongoing interest in the compositional mechanics of world-building. One of the strongest influences upon this body of work is the organisation of pictorial space found in medieval coats of arms. In particular, carved stone artefacts in the Raidkivimuuseum (Carved Stone Museum) in Tallinn have exerted an important influence on the development of this body of work, although any reference to such objects are indirect. Krogan-Roley’s interest lies not so much in the specific information these artefacts have been coded with, but rather in the visual frameworks created to contain such information.
The apparent ‘emptiness’ of his coats of arms, their lack of an identifiable ceremonial or martial purpose, instead reflects the role this class of objects play as semiotic vehicles. Conventions such as the division of a surface into two or four separate areas were originally created as a way to accommodate ever more complex sets of social significations. Reflecting layers of genealogy, the inter-marriage of families, and titles bestowed upon individuals, heraldry had to accommodate ever-growing amounts of specific information. This is information that the Empty Coats deliberately removes in order to explore the dynamics of picture-making where such conventions afford. They repurpose heraldry for a secular age, rendering it in materials scoured from the artist’s nearby surroundings.
August Krogan-Roley (USA, b.1986 in Minneapolis, MN) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BFA in Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK. Krogan-Roley has held solo exhibitions at institutions including At Liberty, Hong Kong, CN; Ricou Gallery, Brussels, BE; Three Four Three Four Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis and Generator Projects, Dundee, UK. His work has been exhibited at venues such as Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, UK; Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; The Glue Factory, Glasgow, UK; RATA Projects, New York, NY; and Shoreditch Town Hall, London, UK.
Gallery name: Kogo gallery
Address: Kastani 42, Tartu
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 12:00 - 19:00, Sat 12:00 - 18:00 and by appointment, +372 5577592
Open: 24.08.2019 - 05.10.2019