Fire, Ice, and Everything In-Between: Abstract Paintings by Adam Cohen

Carrie Haddad Gallery
Sep 11, 2017 6:54PM

Adam Cohen, Blue Moon, 2012, 52 x 45 in., acrylic on paper, contact Carrie Haddad Gallery for pricing

It goes without saying that Adam Cohen's work teems with energy. Cohen’s broad canvases overflow with opaque, syrupy splatters of paint in vivid hues, creating works that are imbued with zeal and executed with gusto. Cohen, who was raised in New Jersey and has his studio there today, brings fire, ice, and everything in between onto the canvas: in some works, brilliant magentas and oranges result in an acrylic inferno; in others, sparse splashes of white and indigo introduce a quiet chill to the composition.

Since Carrie Haddad first exhibited his work 5 years ago, Cohen’s work has catapulted to international recognition. In 2015, Cohen was awarded the International Art Prize Giuseppe Gambino in Venice, Italy and received an honorable mention and award at the Art Olympia International Competition in Tokyo. These successes led to representation by galleries in Italy and Holland.

Adam Cohen, Euphoria, 2013, 24 x 24 in., acrylic on canvas, contact Carrie Haddad Gallery for pricing

With such prestigious honors to his name, it's hard to believe that Cohen's career didn't start with fine art. Although he studied painting as early as age 12 with Lillian Marzell, Cohen's art studies at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia led to a career in illustration. The timing of Cohen's career coincided with the introduction of Photoshop to the art world, and Cohen took full advantage of this. Perhaps he didn't know it at the time, but his position at the vanguard of the digital art movement would lead to a long, fulfilling career as one of the nation's top illustrators.

Adam Cohen, Dragonfly, 2014, 22 x 66 in., acrylic on canvas, contact Carrie Haddad Gallery for pricing

It wasn't until 2012 that he returned to fine art full time, fully embracing a Pollock-esque, abstract expressionist style that is the very embodiment of emotional intensity. A glance into his studio reveals Cohen's kinetic, even aggressive process of projecting paint onto the canvas, which is sometimes methodically scraped away in zig-zags, hatched lines, and a variety of other gestures. One can easily picture the artist in conversation with the piece, adding weight to the canvas layer by layer, committed maybe not to a vision, but rather a feeling.

Cohen's studio: A subtractive tool, now coated in layers of dried paint

Cohen's studio: a selection of paints fills the foreground,while in the background, an incomplete work rests on the color-splattered floor

And from this exhaustive process appears something brimming with personality. The works have been praised by art critic Carter Ratcliff for their spontaneity:  "Images as rich as Cohen's can not be planned in advance ... Joyously high-keyed images emerge from the darkness of uncertainty, as day emerges from night," he writes.

Adam Cohen, Subtropical, 30 x 30 in., acrylic & oil on canvas. SOLD.

Adam Cohen in his studio

Take, for example, "Subtropical": the paint seems to melt off the canvas as if overwhelmed by the humidity. Splashes of emerald green and cool Mediterranean blue mingle with tangerine orange and wildly bold canary yellow, mimicking the vibrant yet sultry summers of the titular subtropics. The smears of paint are too energetic to be premeditated, so there must be some randomness or at least unpredictability to the image's execution--and yet, despite it all, Cohen creates a piece that is perfectly balanced chromatically with a composition that promises to intrigue, as if it couldn't possibly have been any other way.

Works by Adam Cohen will be on view at Carrie Haddad Gallery from September 27 - November 12, 2017, and are not to be missed. The gallery is located at 622 Warren Street, Hudson, NY.

Carrie Haddad Gallery