Bruce Cohen’s 89-year-old dad was honored with his artwork on June 15th, 2012 at The Weber Gallery.
Ordinary, everyday people. We see them everywhere. Going to work, riding the bus, shooting the breeze, hanging around, swarming like ants. They live, they die, they’re replaced by other ordinary people—no big deal.
This is the cynic’s outlook,whose own self-image is somehow always outside these lowly masses. After all, who admits to being ordinary? Ben Cohen questions the very concept of ordinary people. He has been studying people for 89 years, and he thinks they are all a very big deal. He revels in the ordinary splendor of everyday people, and sees the sublime. With paper and pastel he tells a story, and,suddenly, we are able to see the “extra” in the ordinary.
Weber Gallery likes people, too, and so they are packing in this work in a fully loaded effort to provide a wide-angle sampling that does justice to the pastels and watercolors that have been described as expressive realism, impressionistic, or even semi-abstract. People going about their business, picking out vegetables at the market, fretting about their weight, even examining their toenails—these minor moments become significant in Cohen’s art, and the wildly exuberant colors become metaphors for the real vitality of their lives.
OrdinaryPeople will showcase the work that reflects the extraordinary vitality of this remarkable man’s life, who will be 89 years old when he comes to Louisville from New Jersey for the exhibition’s opening.
Cohen grew up in the Lower East Side Tenements of New York City in a Yiddish-speaking immigrant household. His rich boyhood included serving as a crapsgame look-out for Mafia mobsters. He was shocked to learn later that his neighborhood had been considered disadvantaged, saying “We had the best of anything you could imagine.”
His artistic talent was recognized very early, and he was invited to join a grownup life drawing class at such a tender age that he was embarrassed to look at the model.
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