BERNARD COHEN

Biography

(B. 1933; London, UK)
English Painter; Lives and works in London

Bernard Cohen has described himself as “A storyteller and a creator of pictorial theatre”. His tensely wrought and unpredictably complex pictures hold a unique position within the canon of contemporary art.

From the early 1960s he began producing paintings that were idiosyncratic and deliberately disparate in style. The intertwined, meandering lines in a painting such as Knot (1962; Belfast, Ulster Mus.) soon began to be rendered as a dizzying profusion with the aid of an airbrush in works such as Untitled Diamond (1964; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.); the latter is one of a group of works in which strips of masking tape were removed to reveal the under-painting beneath. The consistent development of procedures arising from a concern with process (which had its roots in both the Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock and the sense of ritual characteristic of Cohen’s Orthodox Jewish upbringing) was the link uniting paintings of otherwise bewilderingly varied appearance.

In the mid 1970s Cohen exchanged his earlier preferences for broad expanses of flat colour, spontaneously applied paint and soft focus, for a meticulous technique and a dense layering of patterns and motifs. In these paintings, which swarm vertiginously with textures, colours, stencilled and drawn shapes, Cohen found a way of relating his obsession with the procedures of painting to a range of social rituals, producing an art as complex in formal terms as in its metaphorical implications.

Solo Exhibitions
2015 About Now, Paintings and Prints 2000-2015, Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London, UK
2013 80th Birthday Exhibition, Flowers Gallery, Cork Street, London, UK
2012 Bernard Cohen, Place Games, Flowers Gallery, Cork Street, London, UK
2011 Bernard Cohen: Work of Six Decades. A Retrospective Exhibition, Flowers, New York, USA
2009 Bernard Cohen: Work of Six Decades. A Retrospective Exhibition, Flowers, London, UK
2007 Bernard Cohen: Paintings from the Sixties, Flowers East, London, UK
2006 Bernard Cohen: Paintings, Flowers Gallery, New York, USA
2005 Polychrome Etchings 2005, Flowers Graphics, London, UK
2004 Bernard Cohen: Flowers Central, London, UK
1998 Bernard Cohen: Paintings of the Nineties, Flowers East, London, UK
1998 Bernard Cohen: Paintings of the Nineties, Flowers West, Santa Monica, California, USA
1998 Bernard Cohen: Flowers Central, London, UK
1995 Artist in Focus, six paintings by Bernard Cohen from the Tate Gallery Collection, Tate Gallery, London, UK
1994-5 35 Years of Drawing, Ben Uri Gallery, London and touring to Norwich, Bristol and Birmingham, UK
1990 Waddington Galleries, London, UK
1980 Waddington Graphics, London, UK
1977 Waddington and Tooth Galleries, London; Gallery Omana, Osaka, Japan
1976 Tate Gallery, London (print retrospective); Sharks Lithography Gallery, Boulder, Colorado; Galleria Lorenzelli, Milan, Italy
1975 Studio La Citta, Verona; Hester van Roijen, London, UK
1974 Waddington Galleries, London, UK
1973 Galleria Annunciata, Milan, Italy
1972 Hayward Gallery, London (retrospective exhibition); Waddington Galleries, London (prints); Studio La Citta, Verona; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (drawings, gouaches and prints); Hester van Roijen, London, UK
1967 Betty Parsons Gallery, New York; Kasmin Gallery, London; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, (retrospective exhibition), UK
1966 Editions Alecto, London (prints), UK
1964 Kasmin Gallery, London (drawings), UK
1963 Kasmin Gallery, London, UK
1962 Molton Gallery, London, UK
1960 Gimpel Fils, London, UK
1958 Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham; Gimpel Fils, London, UK

Group Exhibitions
2016 This is Today, Gazelli Art House, London, UK
2015 The New Situation; Art in London in the Sixties, Sotheby’s, London, UK
2015 BP Walk though British Art, Tate Britain, London, UK
2015 Summer Exhibition (by invitation), Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
2015 Seven from the Seventies, Flowers Kingsland Road, London, UK
2015 Out of Chaos; Ben Uri: 100 Years, Somerset House, London, UK
2014 The Print Show, Flowers Cork Street, London, UK
2014 Selected works by Gallery artists, Flowers Kingsland Road, London, UK
2013 Four Hundred Years of British Art: Highlights from the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery `Collection, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville, USA
2013 Square to Circle & Back, Flowers Kingsland Road, London, UK
2012 100 Prints, Flowers Kingsland Road, London, UK
2010 Sette Inglesi a Milano, Austin Desmond Fine Arts, London, UK
2010 Abstraction and the Human Figure in CAMs British Art Collection, Calouste Gulbenkian  Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
2010 40 Years On, Flowers, London, UK
2010 Modern Masters, Flowers Central, London, UK
2010 As Dreamers Do, Colouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Paris, France
2009 Shark’s Ink: The Legend of Bud Shark and his Inedible Ink, Retrospective of prints made by Bud Shark 1976-2009, Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver 2007 Painting from the Noughties, Letterkenny Arts Centre, Donegal, Ireland
2006 Print Matters Part One: New Abstraction, Chelsea Galeria, Miami, USA
2005-6 Stroll on! Aspects of British Art in the Sixties, Mamco – Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Genèva, Switzerland
2005 Summer of Love – Art of the Psychedelic Era, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK touring to Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
2004 Six from the Sixties, Flowers East, London, UK
2004 British Printmaking in the 1960’s, Flowers Graphics, London, UK
2004 Art & the ’60’s This Was Tomorrow, Tate Britain, London, UK
2001 As is When: A Boom in British Printmaking 1962-1972, British Council Collection touring show, UK
1996 British Abstract Art: Works on Paper, Flowers East, London, UK
1996 New Abstract Paintings, Flowers East, London, UK
1994 British Abstract Art: Painting, Flowers East, London, UK
1993 The Sixties: The London Scene, Barbican Gallery, London, UK
1992 Ready Steady Go, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
1991 British Art Since 1930, Waddington Galleries, London, UK
1990 Abstract Prints, Angela Flowers Gallery, London, UK
1983 Pittsburgh International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; touring USA
1983 Sharks Lithography Collection, Denver Museum, Colorado, USA
1979 Paintings from the 1960s, Kasmin/Knoedler Gallery, London, UK
1977 The Hayward Annual, Hayward Gallery, London British Painting 1952-1977, Royal Academy, London, UK
1976 Arte Inglese Oggi, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy
1974 British Painting 74, Hayward Gallery, London, UK
1974 Art as Thought Process, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
1973 La Peinture Anglaise d’Aujourd’hui, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
1973 I Paint a Painting, Studio La Citta, Verona; touring to Turin, Rome, Italy
1973 From Henry Moore to Gilbert and George, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
1972 Giant Prints, Bernard Jacobson, London, UK
1971 Slade Centenary Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, London, UK
1970-71 British Painting and Sculpture 1970-71, National Gallery, Washington, USA
1970 Contemporary British Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
1969 British Graphics, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, US
1969 Marks on Canvas, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund; touring to Kunstverein, Hanover; Museum des 20 Jahrunderts, Vienna, Austria
1968 L’Art Vivant, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
1968 Junge Generation Grossbritannien, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany
1967 Group Show, Kasmin Gallery, London, UK
1967 Drawing Toward Painting 2, Arts Council Gallery, London and touring UK Jeunes Peintres Anglais, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
1967 British/American Graphics, US Embassy, London, UK
1967 Pittsburgh International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
1967 Recent British Painting, Peter Stuyvesant Collection and Tate Gallery, London, UK
1966 Kasmin Artists at Venice, Kasmin Gallery, London, UK
1966 5 Young British Artists, XXXIII Venice Biennale, together with Harold Cohen, Robyn Denny, Anthony Caro, Richard Smith, British Pavilion, Venice, Italy
1966 Aspects of New British Art, British Council exhibition touring to New Zealand; Queensland; New South Wales; Tasmania
1966 English Painters of Today, Galleria Milano, Milan, Italy
1965 London: The New Scene, Walker Art Gallery, Minneapolis and touring to Washington DC; Boston; Seattle; Vancouver; Toronto; Ottowa, Canada; USA
1965 Op and Pop, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
1964 54/64: Painting and Sculpture of a Decade, Tate Gallery, London, UK
1964 Documenta III, Kassel, Germany
1964 Contemporary British Painting and Sculpture, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA
1964 ICA Screenprint Project, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK
1963 British Painting in the 60s, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 118 Show, Kasmin Gallery, London, UK
1962 9 Painters from England, Galleriea Trastevere, Rome, Italy
1961 New London Situation, New London Gallery, London, UK
1961 Neue Malerei in England, Städtisches Museum, Leverkusen, Germany
1960 Situation, RBA Galleries, London, UK
1960 2ème Biennale, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, France
1960 Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
1958 Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham, UK
1957 Dimensions, O’Hana Gallery, London, UK
1957 Abstract Impressionism, University of Nottingham and touring to Arts Council Gallery, London, UK
1954 Six Young Contemporaries, Gimpel Fils, London, UK
1953 Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London, UK 

Selected Public Collections
Arts Council of Great Britain, London, UK
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Ben Uri Museum, London, UK
British Broadcasting Corporation, London British Council, London, UK
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
Caracas Museum, Venezuela
Contemporary Art Society, London, UK
CU Art Museum, University of Colorado, USA
Boulder Dechert LLP, London, UK
Department of the Environment, London, UK
Fogg Museum, Boston, USA
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Manchester City Art Galleries, UK
Mellon Collection, Yale, USA
Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Museum of Modern Art, Tehran, Iran
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
Peter Stuyvesant Collection, London, UK
Swindon Art Gallery, Wiltshire, UK
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Ulster Museum, Belfast, UK
University College, London, UK
University of Liverpool, UK
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, Mexico
University of South Wales, Cardiff, UK
Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville, USA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK
Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, UK

Education
1988-2000 Appointed as Slade Chair of Fine Art at London University, as Slade Professor and Director of the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, UK
1956 Boise Travelling Scholarship, working in France, Spain, and Italy
1954 Awarded French government scholarship
1951-54 Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
1950-51 St Martin’s School of Art, London, UK
1949-50 South West Essex Technical College and School of Art, UK

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