Lynne Cohen

About the Artist

Lynne Cohen is one of Canada’s outstanding photographers. For over thirty years her photographs have consistently represented interior private spaces. These can be places she encounters in her daily life, or as in the case of Classroom (Hercules Bomber), seen in the ARTSask theme Interior Places, institutional interiors she has sought out in order to reveal unknown and unlikely places where people gather.

Cohen’s black-and-white and  colourProduced by light of various wavelengths, and when light strikes an object and reflects back to the eyes. Colour is an element of art with three properties: (1) hue or tint, the colour name, e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.: (2) intensity, the purity and strength of a colour, e.g., bright red or dull red; and (3) value, the lightness or darkness of a colour. When the spectrum is organized as a color wheel, the colours are divided into groups called primary, secondary and intermediate (or tertiary) colours; analogous and complementary, and also as warm and cool colours. Colours can be objectively described as saturated, clear, cool, warm, deep, subdued, grayed, tawny, mat, glossy, monochrome, multicolored, particolored, variegated, or polychromed. Some words used to describe colours are more subjective (subject to personal opinion or taste), such as: exciting, sweet, saccharine, brash, garish, ugly, beautiful, cute, fashionable, pretty, and sublime. Sometimes people speak of colours when they are actually refering to pigments, what they are made of (various natural or synthetic substances), their relative permanence, etc. (Artlex.com)  photographs have captured interiors such as living rooms, offices, spas, men’s clubs, beauty parlours, lobbies, educational settings, and seniors' care homes, but they are all devoid of people. Only the marks made by the people or the furniture used by the rooms' inhabitants remain. As Pierre Theberge and William Ewing observe in the preface to No Man's Land: The Photography of Lynne Cohen, a book of Cohen’s works accompanying the National Galleries 2001 exhibit of her work, “Cohen presents us with a chilling vision of the world, a humanly engineered environment where the boundaries between ’inside and outside’, nature and culture’, ’pleasure and pain’, have been blurred and stripped of their original connotations.” (Theberge and Ewing, 2001)

Cohen’s interiors are included in many major gallery collections and have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her successful career was recognized in 2005 when she was awarded the prestigious Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts for her contributions to Canadian art. Born in Racine, Wisconsin, she has lived and worked in Canada since 1973, and currently (2008) resides in Montreal, Quebec.

Lynne Cohen studied at the Slade School of Art in London, England, the Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting in Michigan and the University of Michigan. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Arts with a major in  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  from Eastern Michigan University. Cohen has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, the École des Beaux-arts de Bordeaux, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Ottawa.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning