March 1984

Sacagawea, 1983, 77 x 77", oil on linen

Cora Cohen (Max Hutchinson, 138 Greene Street): Cora Cohen calls the thickly painted oils in this show “Portraits of Women.” Titles such as “Sacagawea” and “Moluch” suggest the range of feelings within the works. According to the art critic William Zimmer in Arts magazine, the first title refers to the Indian woman who guided Lewis and Clark, the second to “a god of the Ammonites and Phoenicians to whom children were sacrificed by burning.”

These paintings, however, are not traditional portraits at all. They all suggest interior landscapes, with the kind of consistency that might be created by blending trees and water. The works are dense, brooding and yet elated. The turbulence of the paint not only looks but also feels like freedom. In every painting there is a sense of something surging up within the canvas, about to break the surface. Sometimes a mark of impasto paint may gently quiet the movement or put a festive ribbon on it. In “Untitled,” which reflects the mood of the show as a whole, a recognizable female form seems to be dancing through an opaque, untamed world, which has become the figure’s element. (Through March 24.)

-Michael Brenson