Untitled by Lynne Cohen
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Edition of 5 (#1/5)
Lynne Cohen (1944 - 2014) was born in Racine, Wisconsin, and studied art at University College London in 1964-65. Having chosen painting as her medium, she received a B.S. in fine arts and arts education from the University of Wisconsin and an M.S. in fine arts from Eastern Michigan University. By 1973 she had moved to Ottawa where she taught photography at Algonquin College, and had her first solo exhibition of photographs. Since then, she has been included in a number of exhibitions, including a one-person show at ICP and group shows at the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris. Cohen, who has received numerous awards and grants in Canada for her work, has taught at the University of Ottawa since 1974; her most recent book is Lost and Found (1993).
In the photographs for her book Occupied Territory (1988), Cohen aimed her large-format view camera at the unpopulated interiors of classrooms, training centers, restaurants, retirement homes, and office and retail environments. Although these spaces might be familiar, Cohen's generic depiction of them highlights their impersonal design, rendering them awkward and eerie, and revealing how our behavior and aesthetic sensibility may be conditioned by corporate culture.
Lynne Cohen’s photographs are devoid of people but vibrate with humanity. Sociological in her attention to detail, Cohen captured views of interiors - often banal, functional pass-through areas - and imbued them with a sense of stateliness. These lobbies, waiting rooms, pools, and banquet halls conjure movie sets waiting for the actors to appear; spaces where anticipation is palpable. Cohen described her photography as capturing situations that “hover between something and nothing”.
No Man’s Land: The Photography of Lynne Cohen - Canadian Art, 2002