Nancy Cohen creates forms that embody opposing forces. Her sculptures, comprised of glass, resin, handmade paper, wax, metal, and other found objects, are rooted in nature and in the world around us. By using materials as diverse as cement, glass and transulscent cords, for example, Cohen explores such opposing themes as fear and desire, and weight and lightness.
For her exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum, Cohen will show several new works. Her sculpture "Metamorphic Traces" (2012) reflects her interest in how objects appear when they are under water. Installed on the wall, the delicate wire framework holds together glass shapes of various sizes and colors, reminiscent of the fleeting glimpses one gets of objects under water.
"Imperfect Image" (2012) is a glass piece comprised of two mirroring forms. To create this piece, Cohen used a chisel to carve into a log. She then poured hot glass into the log, let it solidify, and removed the glass sculpture. The result is glass that is not perfectly clear; remnants of the original wood form remain rendering a glass piece that, at first glance, looks as if it may have been fabricated in some other material.
For a work produced as part of an earlier series of work, "In Pulverem" (2010), Cohen uses a shopping cart she found in a neighborhood near her home. She dismantled it, removing the actual cart, and covered the remaining "skeleton" in cement. Working in glass, she cast objects that seem to drape, like fabric tea towels, over the rungs of the cart. These glass objects serve no purpose, yet they are endowed with a personal significance. This work was a direct response to the increase in homelessness that Cohen has witnessed around her home, while, at the same time, it reflects the fragility of human existence.
A catalog for this exhibition and the related solo exhibition, Nancy Cohen: By Feel , at the Accola Griefen Gallery (May 18th - June 23rd, 2012) is available. The catalog contains a new essay by critic and curator, Jill Conner.