Kate Cordsen

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Kate Cordsen
Born Kathleen Plante
Great Falls, Virginia, United States
Nationality American
Known for Photography
Website www.katecordsen.com

Kate Cordsen (born 1964, Great Falls, Virginia, United States) is an American photographer and contemporary artist. Cordsen lives in New York City and maintains a studio in Essex, Connecticut.

Cordsen in Essex, CT studio, 2015


Ravine IX (2013) - Chromogenic print

She received a BA in the history of art and East Asian Studies from Washington and Lee University (founded 1749) where she was the first woman in the university’s history to receive an undergraduate degree.[1] Cordsen has an MPP from Georgetown University and studied Chinese and Japanese Art History at Harvard University and photography at the International Center of Photography.

In the late 1980s Kate Cordsen worked for Ford Models. She walked the runway and did print advertisements for many fashion designers including the Japanese avant-garde artists Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. Cordsen credits this time as a model as both the beginning of her education in photography and as formative in understanding Japanese aesthetics.[2]


Cyanotype, Indigo XII, 2014, 83 X 38 inches

Kate Cordsen's landscapes are poetic and vaguely sexual. There is a tension between the specific and the abstract that draws one in.[3]

Her landscapes are, at first glance, simply meditative, but reveal impassioned and dramatic depths upon second and third looks.[4]

The natural world… is transformed by Cordsen’s astonishing eye.[5]

Cordsen's success has much to do with her instincts in emotional expression.[4]

Known for large format minimalist landscapes,[6]Cordsen produces ethereal and ambiguous[7] images that evoke ideas of fragmented memories and temporality. Her compositions are often a calculated reduction to the most elemental forms. To achieve her muted, painterly images Cordsen experiments widely within the photographic medium. She often combines 19th century chemical methods with traditional film and digital technologies.[8] Her landscapes are a hybrid study of both photography and painting. The final result is that her pieces possess a certain aesthetic that seems attainable only through the act of painting. [8] Cordsen's spare aesthetic evolved from her travels to some of the most remote places on earth as well as years living in the Philippines and Japan. Kate Cordsen says she is influenced most by Chinese ceramics, Japanese wood block prints, Gustav Klimt, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, Agnes Martin, and Edward Steichen.

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