Abstract artist and long participant in the Western New York arts community, Adele Cohen’s (1922 – 2002) work addresses the sometimes darker side of the human condition. Inspired by war, health and societal issues, her work evokes an emotional feeling within all of us. Her work has the ability to evoke a feeling of consumption and despair, through a primarily monochromatic painting/collage style. Frequently she would combine material that speaks to the sinewy nature of our own muscular structure, conveying a delicateness that is juxtaposed with a heaviness of the darkness that dominates her work.
"I was very close to Adele and her work, so it's no wonder that I think of her in the best terms as both an artist and a person. However I can, I think, still see her work without prejudice and how it compares to her contemporaries, both here in Buffalo and in the national art scene," said Ben Perrone, artist and friend of Adele. "I see her as the best artist of her peers here in this area and one of the best artists on the national scene. She had a disciplined work ethic and the amazing ability to abstract both personal and greater emotional responses to the events of the day."
"Adele Cohen’s life and art are inextricably linked…Cohen’s childhood was lived in the shadow of the Great Depression while her early adulthood was shaped by an awareness of the human horrors of World War II. She matured as a woman, artist, wife, and mother in the political unrest of the 1960s and 70s while her artistic development coincided with the rise of an American avant-garde that rejected regionalism and social realism in favor of abstract and more universal styles,” writes Jennifer Bayles, art historian, museum educator and grant writer at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in the catalog accompanying the exhibition. “Free from direct influences and often turning her back on trends in the contemporary art world, Cohen developed an abstract style that was rooted in expressionism, reflected her views on the human condition and was embedded in a basic philosophic base that sought beauty on the dark side of life.”
A 150-page catalog featuring essays by William Baker, Robert Bertholf as well as Bayles and is available in the Burchfield-Penney Art Center’s Museum Store.
About the Burchfield-Penney Art Center
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and distinguished artists of Buffalo Niagara and Western New York State. Through its affiliation with Buffalo State College, the museum encourages learning and celebrates our richly creative and diverse community. For more information, contact the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at 716 878 6011 or visit www.burchfield-penney.org.
The new 75,000 square foot Burchfield-Penney, designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2008. The two-story building will be the Burchfield-Penney’s first free-standing home and have a major presence on Elmwood Avenue in the heart of Buffalo’s Museum District.
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is supported in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and Erie County. Additional operating support is provided by Buffalo State College, the Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Trust, the James Carey Evans Endowment, the Mary A. H. Rumsey Foundation and charitable contributions by museum members and visitors. Media sponsor: Buffalo Spree.