Brian D. Cohen Reignites His Passion for Color
Currently showing recent watercolors at the Catherine Dianich Gallery in Brattleboro, Brian D. Cohen is a printmaker and founder of Bridge Press, publisher of limited-edition artist's books and etchings, in Westminster Station, Vt. He has exhibited in countless solo and group shows, and his books and etchings are held by major private and public collections throughout the country. He has won major international competitions, illustrated two natural science books, and is a frequent contributor of artwork to literary reviews and other publications. A book of his work, Brian D. Cohen: Etchings & Books, was published in 2001. Cohen was the founding artistic director of the Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction, Vermont. He has taught at The Putney School since 1985, where he was founding director of the Summer Programs and is currently Dean of Faculty.
During the opening reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Gallery Walk evening, December 3, and from 12 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, Cohen will be hosting a Holiday Sale of prints at the Dianich Gallery.
EXCERPTS FROM COHEN'S ARTIST STATEMENT:
I wish I'd written both those quotes. Art, struggling to grace.
I've been etching since about 1985 when I was expected to teach the medium at The Putney School. I had tried etching a few times but ... I learned from books and from the effects of my own early misteaching on students.
I began to work on series of etchings linked by theme, which I later bound together with text into books. Visual books offered me new possibilities for the continuity, connection, and unfolding of my prints.... I've been thinking in sequence or series since my painting days. I like the idea of a visual story whose narrative may be inferred but will remain ambiguous, its shapes, textures, and movement guiding the viewer.... The reader is transported beyond what is written in words or shown in pictures. The book is a house. It contains and describes a world, and creates its own space; it is touched, held, and opened with intimate pleasure in the hands and time of the viewer...."
I work on as many as 30 or more etchings at once. The process of etching is physical and elemental, requiring force and pressure, inviting aggression and then delicacy, conjoining fire, water, earth, and air. There is something about setting an image into metal that implies permanence, duration, and enduring presence, and I hope my images mirror the medium in that sense.
I am attracted to large, futile, and obsolete things. I love movement and transportation. I like things that people have made and placed in the world, even what fails to remain vital and functioning over time but lurks about in the collective memory.... I am as often inspired by what I read or listen to as by what I see....
ABOUT THE WATERCOLORS
I had been working in black and white for over twenty years before returning to my earlier infatuation with color. My watercolors are done on site, usually fairly quickly. I apply paint into wet paper, timing the drying of the paper as I lay in new washes of color. Painting in the landscape lets me sit happily observing light, color, and shape, simplifying or obscuring detail in favor of larger forms and the broader swell of color. I aim for a "color chord" or harmony that speaks of time, light, and distance all at once. My recent work dates from a residency at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve in New York State, from southern Vermont, and from a trip to the Bahamas.
For more information, see www.bridge-press.com.
Copyright 2010, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont