This catalogue was published to coincide with the artist's solo exhibition Paintings from the Sixties, 12 January - 11 February 2007.
Born in London in 1933, Cohen was educated in the post-war climate of change and cultural upheaval. This era, charged with the reverie of reconstruction, the ambiguity of lost identity and the playfulness of flux, would come to inform his work for the remainder of the century. On graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1954, Cohen travelled to Paris, Madrid and Rome before arriving at the cusp of a new era in painting. The 1960s, for Cohen, "followed the 40s and 50s as years of light following years of darkness", and it is on this crucial period in the artist's life and work that this book shines a spotlight.
The metaphor of light is central to Cohen's understanding of his practice over this period: "during the 60s," he reveals, "I became consciously concerned with clarity and obscurity in painting, and what I call 'almost order' and 'almost chaos'." The artist's exploration of the borderland between order and chaos is evident in works that revel in fragmentation as decoration, and shun a definitive subject or genre. 'Alonging' 1965, the document of a single line's journey across the canvas, is shown here beside 'Generation' 1962, an exercise in the modulation of light on the painting's surface, and 'Blue Burrow' 1966, which appears as a continent of interwoven traces and trajectories suspended in a sea of white.