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

Ezra Cohen, Glade. 61 x 61cm. Acrylic-mixed. Meller Merceux Gallery, Oxford

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, he seeks 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.

Ezra Cohen, Autumnal Reward-1. 61 x 61cm. Acrylic-mixed. Meller Merceux Gallery, Oxford

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.

Previously published on Culture 24


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