Peter Cohen is a sculpture artist based in the Boston area. Working primarily with found and industrial materials such as structural steel, his work explores the tension and balance between geometric rigidity and organic fluidity, material weight and the impression of weightlessness.
With traces of assemblage, much of Peter’s process involves the act of improvisation, reflecting his interest in the unpredictable nature of human and natural expression. The intent, in much of his work, involves stopping motion so the viewer can be a part of a moment in time where the action has been paused. His work also strives to inculcate a sense that the viewer has stumbled upon an object that looks and feels untouched or manipulated, almost random. This element speaks to the inherent beauty of the found object or thing that is not easily captured or reproduced. It’s about the chance encounter with something that is truly pure and real.
Much of this work goes back to his childhood spending time in the woods of New England. Those were solitary times where he connected to the world through nature. For Peter that is where he felt happiest and safest as a child, free from the harshness and challenges of a world that did not really understand him. His intent is to foster a lot of those feelings through his work and to do so in portable objects, which have always been a source of fascination and attraction for him--the perfect Alice in Wonderland-like space.
The idea of portable art is highly appealing to Peter and was inspired in part by the objects, often religious, or sentimental, that people carry with them daily or on a trip. He remembers seeing Woody Allen’s Love and Death in the 70’s in which the protagonist’s father carried around a small plot of land “he planned to build on someday.” This along with Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky in the 90's in which Debra Winger's character, a self-proclaimed professional traveler carried a small Henry Moore sculpture along with her wherever she went. The idea of this has resonated with him strongly ever since.
He has also long since been attracted to spiritual and cultural objects and structures that have garnered adoration, devotion and reverence in the world. So it is no surprise that his work often takes cues from these symbols and objects and translates them into totemic and shrine-like objects.
The work and the process transcend abstraction, conceptualism or most isms. The work flows from within and his hands are enablers to the creation of the object. In many ways, the materials seem to give him guidance, providing some level of insight that helps determine their own composition.