Your Water, My Sky
- by Nancy Cohen
Your Water, My Sky
Artist: Nancy Cohen
Location: Village Green across from the post office (where Broad St. meets Maple St.)
Your Water, My Sky is an investigation into place and our experience of it. Each image comes from the artist's personal experience of waterways impacted by climate change. Banners juxtapose glimpses of two different sites, reflecting their individualities and commonalities. These pairings are metaphors for our human relationships, providing visual connections that bring unity to the Village Green and unite us with our surroundings.
Raised in Queens and the suburbs of New York, Nancy Cohen has lived and worked in Jersey City, NJ for almost three decades. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and is in the permanent collections of The Montclair Museum, The Newark Public Library, The Weatherspoon Art Gallery, and The Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University. Solo exhibits include recent shows in New York, Princeton, and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit.
“I have been making things for as long as I can remember and serious about studying and looking at art since high school,” says Cohen. “My mother and grandmother were always making things–knitting, quilting, painting and were both serious gardeners so using my hands and bringing visual things to fruition was an obvious way to spend time.”
About her process, she says: “I am always looking for new materials to challenge me and to open up my vocabulary. A friend and studio neighbor describes my studio process as being somewhat like a mad scientist – because I am always mixing something new up and trying to see how I can get materials to speak.”
For this particular work, Cohen created paper collages made from digital images of her handmade paper works, each collage containing fragments of larger works juxtaposed against each other. These were later recreated and enlarged digitally in photoshop and then printed onto banners.
“My inspiration is varied,” says Cohen. “Often it comes from the work I made before – seeing the unrealized possibilities in one piece pushed to the next.”
Look closely and you’ll see similar patterns and colors repeated across a number of the banners, a fragment of one here, another fragment there. Notice too how the banners vary in size, the smallest being at the center of this quadrant of the Green, the largest at the top of the curving sidewalk near the train station. The fact that the banners have two sides also ensures that the appearance of the work changes throughout the day, as sunlight is reflected on one side in the morning and on the other side in the afternoon, so that the work you see changes depending on the time of day that you visit.
The result is a work that might be more accurately described as a “visual experience” or exploration that, like much of Cohen’s work, defies easy categorization. Critics have noted her work’s “radiantly hued surfaces,” “translucent colorations and contours,” and images that are often “suffused with a sense of circulation.” These complex images reflect Cohen’s ongoing interest in the confluence of our natural and manmade environments, particularly the waterways of New Jersey and New York, and the beauty and fragility of our own transient, tide-like existence.
Take a Look!
Location: Village Green – North West Quad
Installation Status: Current Installations