Date of Lecture: 1993-09-24
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Cohen has lived and worked in Canada since 1973. She obtained her masters degree in art from Eastern Michigan University (1969) and while in residency at the Slade in London, was exposed to the pop art tendencies of Richard Hamilton. Her medium of choice is now photography, and though her work tends toward a certain minimal austerity, it maintains a pop art sense of wry humour.
For several decades now, Cohen has exposed the underlying constructs (social, political and didactic) inherent to the organization of space within institutional interiors. Photographed devoid of their inhabitants, the sites evoke a lingering human presence and allude to the embedded narratives of their function. Though Cohen shoots the spaces as she finds them, the overall impression is often that of viewing a stage set.
In the 1980s, Cohen photographed authoritarian institutions such as laboratories, training centres, classrooms and firing ranges, mostly rendered in black and white. Her colour work from the 1990s has comprised subjects such as factories and spas.
Cohen’s first major retrospective exhibition, entitled No Man’s Land, was mounted in 2001. The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Canada, in collaboration with the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland and will travel to various locations until 2003.
Lynne Cohen also lectured on October 18, 1985.