Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in Tribeca presents Accompanied, its third solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Jennifer Paige Cohen (CRF 2016). The show is up until January 14th.
Cohen’s sculptures have frequently intimated time and the body through methods of abstraction and absence. Featuring works made within the last two years, Accompanied addresses the body as a divergent site of vulnerability, stasis, and transformation.
As a reliquary contains elements of a person or soul, Cohen’s sculptures contain embodied fragments of strangers, friends, family and the artist herself. Using worn clothing gathered over time, Cohen bunches and knots a dense, fabric core which is then wrapped with gauze and plaster, dried, and repeated. This laborious process of hand-building is intuitive—the artist shaping from the mind—and manifests in rough-hewn figures that either stand, kneel, or recline. In material and form, the sculptures harken to Greco-Roman classical antiquity; yet here time and tradition are more fluid, transitory, messy.
Gesture accrues on each figure’s body. Across the imperfect plaster Cohen details limbs and faces with watercolor washes. Loose lines sketch out kneecaps and hipbones, spines and hands. Sparsely patched scraps of fabric adorn the painted plasters, creating an impressionistic collage on each body that, in some instances, literally draws the inside out. On some of the works, billowing, brightly colored patterns spill out of what might have been an arm socket or collarbone. On others, more lean, languid strips fall from a wrist or clutched palm. A black zipper articulates a spine on the back of Untitled (self-portrait) (2022). The artist’s first attempt at her own likeness sits accompanied, by a cast of friends and vestiges of now and long ago. Learn more here.