I make drawings of layered handmade paper, drawn on with various densities of paper pulp. These are directly related to my sculpture. The sculpture and drawings are both abstract but evoke emotion through references to organic forms and human experiences. I often start with shapes rich in cultural, associative or symbolic meaning and then juxtapose and modify them to explore tensions, sympathies and contradictions. I am interested in exploiting extreme imbalances of weight and strength to provoke a direct physical reaction to the emotional content of the work.
I am interested in fragility both visually and conceptually and see it as an important metaphor for managing life in a complex world.
Nancy Cohen’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and is represented in important collections, such as The Montclair Museum, The Newark Public Library, The Weatherspoon Art Gallery, and The Zimmerli Museum. She has completed numerous large-scale, site-specific projects including for Thomas Paine Park in lower Manhattan, The Staten Island Botanical Garden, The Noyes Museum of Art, The Katonah Museum of Art, and Howard University. She has collaborated with scientists and poets including Shirley Tilghman and Jim Sturm of Princeton University, JeanMarie Harman of Rutgers University and performance poet Edwin Torres.
Her installation Hackensack Dreaming was exhibited at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New Jersey City University, The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, PA and at Duke University, Raleigh, NC.
Recent exhibitions include Force: Observations from the Interior at Markel Fine Arts and Glass: An Alternate History at Heller Gallery, both in Manhattan, Summation & Absence at BIOBAT Art Space in Brooklyn and New Directions in Fiber Art at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ.
Cohen’s work has been reviewed in books and periodicals, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, ArtNews, and Sculpture Magazine. Awards include five fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts, two from the Brodsky Center, a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, and an ISE Cultural Foundation Grant. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Millay Colony, Dieu Donne, Pilchuck Glass School, WheatonArts, Bullseye Glass, and The Tides Institute. Cohen received her MFA Columbia University and her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. She currently teaches at Queens College.