Cohn will present a group of new paintings which will address the interaction between figuration and abstraction, surface and depth, and the juxtaposition between traditional painting themes as they are realized within a contemporary context.
Using Photoshop collages of photographs he made of his immediate surroundings as reference for his mainly large scale canvasses, Cohn is fascinated by the dual experience painting offers: the image and the surface. For him, the image has always been a less imposing factor. As he puts it: “What attracted me to abstract painters like de Stael, de Kooning, Gorky is that they allow one to just look at the painted surface with no image to hold on to. In more contemporary works such as Adrian Ghenie or Justin Mortimer I found a fusion of the two worlds that really struck me as very close to my vision.” A range of techniques applied over the same canvas results in varying levels of abstraction, and a multiphasic surface that demands up-close inspection.
By upsetting conventions of traditional painting—such as the prioritization of the figure and the sanctity of the subject—with these abstract incursions, Cohn builds a sense of unease, disorientation, and displacement. The obfuscation effectively creates an eerie dissonance between what we see and what we could be missing. Uncomfortable arrangements of bodies, with limbs all akimbo, encourage suspicions that we are witnessing something dangerous or violent that has either just occurred, or is abruptly about to occur; that these figures are frozen in a discomfitingly pregnant pause.
For him, the figure’s function is to “glue” the other aspects of the painting together, such as surrounding—be it a landscape, cityscape or interior—and their connection to some other element in the image—another figure, a color, a shape. In a neo-traditionalist fashion, Cohn experiences a visceral and intuitive interaction with the more traditionally painted figures, and as they evolve over repeated reworkings, the paintings create a further distance from their art historical references, firmly planting them in the contemporary moment with their hybrid status, an ode to the fugue of hypermediated living.
About Adam Cohn
Born 1983 in Israel, living and working in Tel Aviv, Adam Cohn is a visual artist/educator working in painting and sculpture. He received his art education from the Jerusalem Studio School, Jerusalem, Israel (2004-2008), and the Arts Students League, New York, USA (2010-2011) studying sculpture with Jonathan Shan. Between 2007-2012, he has taught drawing at various art educational establishments; and since 2012 teaches at Hatahana School for Painting and Drawing, Avni Institute. His solo exhibitions include two presentations at the Hatahana Gallery, Tel Aviv in 2013 and 2014, curated by Liza Gershuni; and a 2009 show at Hamila Gallery, Harduf, Israel. Between 2008 and 2016, Cohn has taken part in Tel Aviv group shows at Liza Gershuni Gallery, Hanina Gallery, Hatahana Gallery, and Gallery 33. His work is represented in the Dubbi Shiff Art Collection, Marina Hotel, Tel Aviv, and private collections in the UK, USA, and Israel.
Opening: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 6-9PM
Open: September 27-29, 2017 from 2-7pm and by appointment
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Photos: Zack Soltes