back to press listing

Nancy Cohen at Kouros
by David Cleveland
ARTnews November 2004


Nancy Cohen's exquisite sculptures of found or scavenged objects are reminiscent of the biomorphic combinations sometimes encountered along the tide line of an urban beach. Civilization's detritus (the more indestructible parts) sea glass, discarded ampoules, fishnet, and bits of metal hardware-find themselves tumbled in the surf and somehow melded into a tarry, barnacled mass. A closer inspection of Cohen's assemblages-the "Gurney," "Hammock," and "Procession" series shown here-revealed a tenuous balance of whimsy and thoughtfulness.

Procession (2004) is an airy brougham of sand-dollar-like glass wheels, a child's Sleeping Beauty fantasy. The crystalline delicacy of the sturdy little vehicle displayed the inherent tensions in Cohen's vision: fragility and strength, the arbitrary and planned, the organic and architectonic. Nothing is quite what it seems.

Laid Bare (2002), though insinuating a hammock, is really positing ambiguity. A strange, suspended, organic structure held by tendonlike threads of cement tempted the gaze, only to reveal a silver vessel with its interior shape, like a plug of matter removed, embedded in a nesting embrace. Such endomorphic forms-mixed interiors and exteriors-abounded, lending an uneasy sexuality, echoed in the sensuous, tactile surfaces.

Hollow Places (2004), a bony structure of seductive cavaties, turns out to be constructed of bent spoons.