Survey by Qualaroo

Bernard Cohen

"Perhaps because I have always been against painting en series, I have tended to work on one painting at a time and therefore have aimed at the distillation of ideas in the individual work. Because of this my painting has seemed to change its style very rapidly, so that an exhibition held in 1963 looked different to the one I had in 1962 etc. I have disliked paintings that were done en series because they depend upon an overriding stylistic quality, a poetic atmosphere or a literary connecting thread. I have never been able to accept that a'large group of paintings have a greater significance than an individual painting. Therefore I have wanted to stand by each painting as the distillation of all my current desires, ideas and intentions. My paintings do not only change from.yearto year— they change from painting to painting. Painting is ritualistic and formal; I choose to stand before the canvas in a certain way and to represent all that I have to say in a virgin manner. Drawing on the other hand is informal. I use it to free myself to do things that I could not allow myself to do in the formal process of painting. I wantto do the crazy and unpredictable in drawing. I wantthe process of painting to be totally predictable. Therefore it will be seen that I use drawing to open up ideas. I do not use them as cartoons upon which to base paintings. I draw until I am certain of having opened up new possibilities. There is never a narrative relationship between the drawings and the paintings. The choice, through drawing, of an archway structure does not carry with it the need for a specific placing of the archway on the canvas. The drawing creates the principle. The painting enacts the principle." Bernard Cohen march 1967

Brother of Harold Cohen.

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