chicago

Ronald Cohen

N.A.M.E. Gallery

There is nothing mannered about Ron Cohen’s expressionism. Certainly striking, these works, ranging from large canvases to big, two-sided pieces on wheels with one or more mattresses attached, are not pretty. The surfaces are predominantly painted black; projected on these dark backgrounds like fleshly X rays are translucent, ghostly-white figures, their heads always cropped by the canvases’ top edges. (The cropping recalls the formal approach of Philip Pearlstein, once a teacher of Cohen’s.) We view these nude male forms from the rear, often observing testicles hanging below the buttocks. In several three-dimensional works actual metal funnels are inserted into the rectums of the figures. Needless to say, this is tough, raw male art.

The works on rollers each show a vertical side and a side slanted toward the top at about a 60-degree angle. Here, Cohen maintains a dialogue between opposites:

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.