Genevieve Cohn was born and raised in rural Vermont. She received her MFA in Painting at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and received her BA in Art and Culture & Communication from Ithaca College. She has shown nationally, including works in exhibitions at The Painting Center in NYC, Studio OH! in Chicago and the Grunwald Gallery in Bloomington, IN. Her work has been published in Art Maze Magazine, Friend of the Artist and A Women’s Thing Magazine. She has taught at Indiana University Northwest in Chicago as well.
My paintings walk a line between the real world and a world shaped by emotional perceptions. Utilizing imagery and ideologies drawn from The Women’s Land Army from World War I and II and women’s separatist communities, I create constructed communities that exist in a collapsed and unknown time, neither past nor future, but somehow both. I also draw from children’s literature and imaginative play to offset the serious nature of historical female separatist groups. This combination of seriousness and innocence give my scenes a complicated and sometimes uneasy sense of self.
While I attempt to address the liminal space in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination converge, the women in my paintings tether the viewer to the physical realm. The strange and otherworldly scenes depicted in my paintings are held together by women who navigate, fix, and pull together the landscape that surrounds them; they pull their worlds together with string and mold mountains with their bare hands. Often their tasks seem uncertain, ambiguous, or even futile, but these women anchor the viewer to a world that is wrought with uncertainty. I speak from a place of vulnerability with my paintings, with figures attempting to ground themselves in an ephemeral world.
My painting process mirrors the rhythms of my life – loose and chaotic, reactive and intense. I shift between transparent washes of acrylic and thick layers of paint applied with a palette knife, allowing for a surface that is both structured and poetically atmospheric. Much as we learn to see ourselves differently trough time and transformation, I both build surfaces up and sand away at the paint to reveal earlier histories.