February 2009, Studio Visit with Aron Cohen


Aron in his studio

Aron and I were introduced to one another through a mutual friend. I did not know anything about him, other than this friend said he thought it would be nice for us to meet. I pulled up in front of 1777 Yosemite Place at 9am and Aron and I made our way through what he explained, “…might be painted silver walls with aluminum in it,” to his studio which can be described as this: Organized, perfectly lit and so pristine that only a photographer could work here. There were no signs of paint dripped on the floors, holes in the walls where paintings in process were hung, instead, tables with prints laid out – installed work and small piles of “stuff”. 

 Collection of coffee creamers, jams and any other item packaged similarly

Graduating from RISD in 2002 Aron moved to San Francisco after traveling to Europe. He had heard that San Francisco had a European vibe so he took a chance. 6 years later, he is still here. It seems that the Bay Area has made a nice place of research and consumption for Cohen. Cohen states: “Through the use of a camera, I seek to probe the conventions of documentation, classification, and painting. I examine contemporary mundane objects. Often made of plastic, these objects are indicative of our modern age: They speak to the excesses of society and the loss of attention to what it is that we create or has been created for us; they exist in our environment, yet go unnoticed. In much the same way an early biologist might have collected and conducted visual studies of insects to gain a greater understanding of their nature, we must also understand the nature of these objects and how they represent our attitudes towards the physical world.” 
Installation view, Bags in Blue, 2007, Pigment Print 34”h X 45”w and Directional, 2008,
Pigment Print, 35”h X 35”w amongst others. 
The things Aron collects do not pile up in his studio – they are small, and fit neatly inside plastic containers, on a shelf, tucked in a bag. In fact there are bags within bags in his storeroom and neatly piled, color coordinated twisty ties on his desk. Some of the first things that caught my attention were the use of scale in Aron’s work, the painterly application or rather composition of the image. Taking the edges into consideration most works fit neatly within the confines of the print. For me, some of the most successful works were the ones that defied these confines. 
 Recently framed work INSERT TITLE HERE
Aron was also kind enough to share his process with me: “I compose my images in camera and produce my images in pigment. I consider this work photography and painting. By using this flexible computer based medium, I am able to further enforce my understanding of the objects that I collect and document, and can adjust the images to convey my personal understanding.” 
His older works were called “Portraits” but were of single plastic bags, bottles and packing kernels. He elevated each object, gave it an importance, an identity.  The new work is less about a bag, straw or packets identity and rather are exercises in color, composition and object making. 
If Aron could go anywhere to shoot his work, outside of his studio, it would be “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” 
Recent exhibitions include, National Juried competition ACCI Gallery 1652 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley CA curated by Suzanne Baiserman and Kate Eilertsen. Cohen is a current KALA Art Institute artist residency winner. 



Jessica Silverman

Jessica Silverman is a recent graduate of the MA Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of Arts as well as owner and director of Silverman Gallery, San Francisco. She has taken part in a Curatorial Residency at the Frankfurter Kunstverein the summer of  2006.  As an independent curator she has recently produced International Waters co-curated by artist Soo Kim for StevenWolfGallery, San Francisco and is working on exhibitions with curators Mizuki Endo and whitehot NYC contributor Jan Van Woensel.  In 2008, Silverman and Passenger Books will publish Leaving the Library a catalogue of conversations.     


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