This week’s featured artist is Jeff Cohen, a graphic designer turned fine art painter, who uses oil and encaustic on wood.
As you can see, what makes Cohen unique is that his finished works are made up of many smaller painted squares.
Each of the painted wooden tiles is slightly different from its neighbors, both in color and alignment, adding a very interesting effect to Cohen’s compositions. Visually it reminds me of looking through thick privacy glass, or windows that have become distorted with age.
In some of his paintings, Cohen uses different sizes of tiles—and for a number of different reasons, depending on the situation.
For instance, in Six Marbles, some of the marbles seem to really pop off of the canvas, while others are more subdued. It’s directly related to the size of the square around each marble.
The variations in color and line throughout the painting also add interest to the piece.
Here he arranged a trail of smaller tiles to emphasize the shape and flow of the clouds, while at the same time slowly leading the viewer’s eyes toward the water tower.
The squares tend to add an element of randomness to many of Cohen’s paintings, creating patterns which add visual weight to what would normally be considered negative space and turning even his most naturalistic works (flowers, landscapes, figures) into soft geometric abstractions.
It’s amazing that introducing such a “simple” element like squares can add so much, and it makes me think of all the possibilities open to us as artists that we never even consider.
If you’d like to see more of Jeff Cohen’s paintings (including some absolutely beautiful figurative works), make sure to visit his website at www.jeffcohenstudio.com.
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