Ezra Cohen's blood red landscapes at Meller Merceux Gallery Oxford

By Alex Oxborough | 23 January 2013

Exhibition Preview: Blood, soil and tears - the macabre work of Ezra Cohen, Meller Merceux Gallery, Oxford, until February 28 2013

an expressionistic painting of winter trees with golden leaf foliage over blood red ground
© Ezra Cohen
Painter Ezra Cohen’s latest exhibition explores the synchronicity and violence of man’s relationship with nature, incorporating found objects, such as wire and leaves, along with oil paint and even his own blood, seeking to symbolise both man's oneness with nature and his capacity for violence against it.   

Inspired by solitary walks through the wild forests of North Eastern Poland, Cohen documents the near-mystical sensation he experienced of feeling his "spirit dissolve and merge" with the forest itself.

The works do not depict harmony, but rather the frenetic and boundless energy of nature. Strongly reminiscent of blood vessels and arteries, tree roots delve into the parched earth, and the sky crackles with movement.

Cohen is influenced by the anguished proto-expressionism of Edvard Munch and the work of contemporary expressionist Anslem Kiefer, and strives to depict emotion and describe the irrational.

Primal and wild, his use of paint is both sculptural and innately painterly, showing a skilful understanding of oil paint's ability to suggest organic textures.

Though identifiably expressionist, the work is separated by the use of thick glazes to create an effect similar to stained glass in place of the violent brushwork more typical of the movement.

Unashamedly heartfelt and intensely personal, this is an exhibition reimagining the natural world.

Visit Alex Oxborough's blog at alexoxborough.wordpress.com/.

More pictures:

a painting of a coppice of trees with vein like roots and golden leaves
© Ezra Cohen
a painting of a tree with blood red background and white blossoms
© Ezra Cohen
a painting of winter trees with exposed roots systems and a background of wintery grey
© Ezra Cohen
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