Art News 2012

Ed Cohen's seductive process-oriented paintings record the fluid relationship between paint, gravity, and gesture.

This exhibition consisted of mostly square canvases in which circular forms radiate into and within the edges of the frame. The prevailing colors in these works were sanguine crimsons and pur­ples, evoking blood, and ultramarine, which produced an otherworldly light suggestive of sky and water.

The paintings tend to induce a medita­tive mood in the viewer who follows the course of their thin to thick threads of light and gesture. Titles such as Listen to the Soundless Rhythm (2011) allude po­etically to the works' contemplative na­ture. Like many of Cohen's other paintings in the show, this one has a range of sharply contrasting tones, re­calling the chemical interaction of a pho­tosensitive surface and the light source in darkroom photography.

The title Developing a Cosmology of Eros (2011) calls attention to the pic­ture's sensuality, which is heightened by its shiny, glazed, jewel-like surface. Inter­estingly, the static glossy surfaces of some of the canvases often contrast with paint drips over the edges or across the panels, as in Untitled Diptych (2011).

While many of the paintings feature a monochromatic palette of ultramarines, suggesting aquatic patterns, organisms, and atmospheres, others are more about external surface than interior light. In Need of Music That Would Flow (2011) is an alluring exception. Blinding and fluo­rescent, this painting has a rich chro­matic depth. The flickers of intense light suggest afterimages or trailings, all of which addressed the exhibition's central focus: challenging the limits of pigment on canvas. -Greg Lindquist