Bernard Cohen at Flowers

Bernard Cohen, Octet, 2011, acrylic on linen, 137 x 167 cm (© Bernard Cohen, cou
Bernard Cohen, Octet, 2011, acrylic on linen, 137 x 167 cm (© Bernard Cohen, courtesy Flowers Gallery, London

Dan Coombs reviews Bernard Cohen: 80th Birthday Exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London, on view through June 22, 2013.

Coombs writes: "There’s something ambitious about the way Cohen conflates so many modes of painting together, something impossible about the problems he sets for himself. There’s an overweening ambition to paint the whole world, to paint an overview – to get everything conceivable into each painting. Cohen wants to get away from the self and immerse himself in the world – but it’s a world that has fragmented downwards into chains of tiny particles. The effect is similar to my experience of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest. I bought the brick-thick paperback but found it was impossible to read in a straightforward linear way. I ended up only being able to digest small particles, but each particle was vivid."