I am interested in the juxtaposition of fragility and strength – evident in our personal lives and our broader environment. Under that overarching idea my drawings and sculptures fall into two categories. Work that references the fragility of our natural environment and work that is more about the individual navigating a perilous world.
I have working with handmade paper and glass for over 25 years now. I am drawn to these materials for their transformative qualities, their potential for translucency, and their ability to be both skin and structure. I am interested in working with processes that share these dualities and allow me to merge material and content.
My working methods allow an implication of the body in the work—its touch and tenderness, its frailty and endurance. It is my goal that in this work, as in our own lives, elements hang in the balance, each one necessary, vulnerable, beautiful and above all interdependent.
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Jersey City based artist Nancy Cohen’s work examines resiliency in relation to the environment and the human body. Her 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, The Textile Museum in Washington DC, Howard University and The CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, NL.
She has collaborated with scientists, artists and poets including Shirley Tilghman and Jim Sturm of Princeton University, JeanMarie Harman of Rutgers University, glass artist Anna Boothe and performance poet Edwin Torres.
Her large-scale installation, Hackensack Dreaming, was shown at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ and traveled to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, PA, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in Raleigh, NC and at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn.
Her most recent solo exhibition was Force: Observations from the Interior at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Manhattan in April, 2019. Recent group exhibitions include: Kin at Accola Griefen Fine Arts, Summation and Absence at BioBAT both in Brooklyn, NY, The Other Glass: An Alternate History at Heller Gallery, Manhattan, Wake at Dorsky Curatorial Projects in Long Island City, and New Directions in Fiber Art at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ.
Cohen’s work has most recently been featured as part of the series Imaging Water for the blog Artists and Climate Change and as part of Arttable’s Artist Perspectives Podcast series. Her work has been reviewed in books and periodicals, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, ArtNews, Hand Papermaking, Glass Magazine, Sculpture Magazine Art Spiel and Less than Half. 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.