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The War: Maria Cohen's Striking Exploration of Emotional Conflict

turquoise ether magazine18/10/23 10:19998

Maria Cohen, a UK-based artist with a rich academic background in Fine Art Painting, has continuously pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. Her multidisciplinary approach to art, informed by her studies at the prestigious Camberwell College of Arts, has culminated in a thought-provoking project titled “The War.” This endeavor explores the intricate facets of sexuality and identity through a mesmerizing blend of digital drawing and mixed media painting. Cohen’s work, marked by its repetition of the rabbit motif, offers a compelling reflection on the dichotomies of life, safety, and security.

Performance Soho London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong”
Performance Soho London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong”

Cohen“s artistry, underpinned by an MA in Fine Art Painting, has been nurtured by an array of experiences and accolades. Her journey at the University of the Arts London (UAL) was graced by the Art Ambassador Awards, which undoubtedly contributed to her evolving style. It is a testament to her artistic prowess that she has continued to make waves beyond academia, with notable exhibitions such as “Intimacy” at the Fitzrovia Gallery and collaborations with Urban Outfitters. Her work”s inclusion in exhibitions in Basel and the South London Gallery, alongside selection at the Saatchi Gallery, affirms her rising prominence in the art scene.

Performance Soho, London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong / “The War” Digital Print, Glossy paper
Performance Soho, London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong / “The War” Digital Print, Glossy paper

Cohen’s project “The War” stands as a mesmerizing testament to her ability to engage with complex ideas. The canvas presents a stark, blood-red background, serving as the backdrop for a trio of black rabbits, rendered in a repetitive pattern. This repetitive motif carries deep symbolic weight, acting as a visual anchor for the emotional and intellectual journey that unfolds within the piece.

The black rabbits are the embodiment of life’s intricacies, complexities, and inherent contradictions. Their repetitiveness symbolizes the fragility and insecurity that often defines human existence, starkly emphasizing the challenges of finding safety or security in a world fraught with uncertainty. As we gaze upon these mute, emotionless rabbits, a palpable tension emerges, underlining the difficulties of connecting with others and forging the trust that binds us as a society.

“The War” / Digital Image / 2022
“The War” / Digital Image / 2022

The red background, with its intense and vibrant hue, plays an integral role in Cohen“s message. It gives voice to the conflict that brews between our innermost desires and the constraints imposed upon us by the world. The sharpness of the bunny”s image evokes a sense of emotional turmoil, hinting at the relentless struggle between what we want and what we can have. It’s an artistic portrayal of the emotional war that rages within us, constantly challenging the harmony between our inner world and the external forces that shape our lives.

“The War” Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London / Digital Print, Glossy paper 2022
“The War” Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London / Digital Print, Glossy paper 2022

Within “The War,” Cohen delves into profound themes of trauma, grief, and the elusive quest for safety and security in a world marred by uncertainty. The choice of rabbits as symbols in her artwork adds layers of depth and complexity to these themes. They reveal the ways in which our emotions and experiences are simultaneously fragile and powerful. It’s a vivid reminder of the inherent tension between our unyielding desire for safety and the undeniable need for growth and change in our lives.

Performance Soho, London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong / “The War” Digital Print, Glossy paper
Performance Soho, London 2023 / Fragile is another way to be strong / “The War” Digital Print, Glossy paper

Jenya Stashkov, a Sheffield-based art critic and artist

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