Marcia R. Cohen
Artist website: www.marciarcohen.com
About the Artist
Marcia R. Cohen, exhibiting artist and educator, received her BFA from Wayne State University and MA from the University of New Mexico. Her artwork and scholarship examines the intersection between color, nature and culture. Awards include a 2019 residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and residencies in Iceland, the Azores Archipelago and Santa Fe. Fellowships include MOCA Ga Working Artist Project, Fulbright Hays Fellowship (Morocco and Tunisia), American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship and a Duke University Department of Jewish Studies 2019-2020 Research Fellowship. Cohen is a Professor Emerita from SCAD Atlanta and the Atlanta College of Art.
The Separate Kingdom, 2019-22.
Statement About Work
Often, I work directly from nature for inspiration, casting a wide net to gather research for my ideas. My forays into the deeper recesses of the forest were forever changed when I discovered, in an archive, an illustrated children’s book from the 1930’s intended as antisemitic Nazi propaganda. The illustrations in this book, Der Giftpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom), depicted caricatures of Jews transformed into botanical misfits with exaggerated facial features and as anthropomorphized creatures. I began the work I call “The Separate Kingdom” in 1993. This is a diverse group of works that has evolved independently of my academic work and remains, to this day, a more private studio endeavor. Working across the disciplines of painting, monoprints, Limoges vitreous enamel and sculptural installations, I developed a material language for this difficult body of work. Frequently my imagery depicts a group of characters/caricatures as they navigate their surroundings and cast about in problematic narratives. The titles are integral to understanding the inner life of each piece. "The Separate Kingdom" examines the dark legacy of caricatures that use antisemitic tropes. Such malicious graphics that equate the Jewish people with the nefarious side of nature/humanity have existed since antiquity and, tragically, continue to this day. Such propaganda is a common practice in the radicalizing of people to hate Jews. “The Separate Kingdom” explores, questions and transforms anti-Jewish graphics. As an artistic process, the recontextualizing of such controversial antisemitic propaganda can be viewed as a risky and complicated endeavor.