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"No Man's Land: The Photographs of Lynne Cohen"
2002-06-15 until 2002-06-22
This major exhibition is the first comprehensive examination of Lynne Cohenís photographic work, from the mid-1970ís to her most recent production. Concerned with revealing the concealed narratives of interior spaces, Cohenís photographs are fascinating, complex windows on the lifestyles of the modern North American world.
Employing a highly formal production style, with the familiar flatness and symmetry used in annual reports and postcards, Cohen presents reserved images that offer compelling social commentary. Cohenís photographs from the 70ís and 80ís, of banquet halls, living rooms and classrooms, are both a kitschy delight and a revelation of cultural artifice. In her more recent work of spas that resemble laboratories and empty corporate spaces, there is a profound sense of alienation, isolation and deception. Many of the images have an aura of generic perfection, although, astonishingly, none of the interiors featured in her photographs are altered or staged. Rather, Cohen reconfigures familiar terrain in the form of a work of art, and in so doing makes that terrain unfamiliar, even alien.
Cohen has stated that her photographs are ďpictures permeated with sadness and humourĒ and that she would like them to ďreveal a struggle between reality and illusion, between the authentic and the simulated.Ē Her photographs emphasize the communication of knowledge and the reflection of the self inherent in the interiors we create and inhabit. These interiors allow us to see how our hopes and dreams are incorporated into our environments, but simultaneously, how our environments contradict our desires by shaping the way in which we live.
The monograph No Manís Land: The Photographs of Lynne Cohen, written by Ann Thomas and published by the National Gallery of Canada, will be available at Oakville Galleries.
The exhibition No Manís Land: The Photographs of Lynne Cohen is generously sponsored by Lexus of Oakville.
gelatin silver print
Courtesy the National Gallery of Canada