Jamie Cohen is a Toronto-based painter whose abstract works reimagine how we perceive and experience the world we inhabit.
While working in New York for Saturday Night Live, he built his foundational skills as an artist at the Art Students League of New York. Stemming from a passion for painting, he immersed himself in the same environment as the influential masters of the modern age such as Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
He found success with his work becoming an award recipient of the Art Students League’s juried Red Dot award.
Upon returning to Toronto, he devoted himself to his art. His artistic practice today is a culmination of over two decades of dedication to developing his signature style of abstraction.
Painting is a journey. Channeling my passion for creation, I form abstract imagery where a viewer can embark down a path of introspection. The landscapes and objects that first appear amongst the brushstrokes undergo a metamorphosis. Here, the paint begins to project back the viewer’s own emotions.
My practice has become a reflection of my personal journey. My use of rich bold color evolved from my time in Malaysia and Cambodia where I witnessed the Buddhist culture embrace vibrant colors.
From my time in New York amongst the bustling streets and vivacious nightlife, I learned how to capture and distill the intensity and dynamism of a scene. At this time I was surrounded by the excitement and the urgency of the improvisational performers of Saturday Night Live, a spirited energy that I began to infuse into my work.
In a highly gestural and intuitive approach, I layer and excavate paint across my large scale works. An immersive experience emerges, enveloping viewers in a tactile experience of textures.
Between the acrylic strokes are mixed media elements that reflect and refract the light, infinitely changing the experience of the piece. As subtle shapes emerge, my distinctive palette of unique color combinations intensifies the push and pull within each work.
I seek to share the joy I experience when embracing the present moment in the act of creation. Despite the complexity of the unforeseen intermingling of colors and textures I produce, the scenes emanate an atmosphere of tranquility.
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A large-scale abstract and mixed media piece made up of approximately ten layers of paint: purples, magenta, whites, silvers and blues.
The colours are integrated with surprising mixed media elements and extra heavy gel, extra course pumice gel and other combinations of paint thickeners to give it a highly visceral, tactile look and feel.
I needed more room to paint this piece so I rented out the back of a Queen St. gallery to create it.