Colour in Black and White New Solo Exhibition by Peter Cohen | David Krut Projects
Opening: Saturday 10 September 2022, 10:00, at David Krut Projects Parkwood Gallery – located at 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg.
David Krut Projects is pleased to present Colour in black and white, a solo exhibition of first works by
Peter Cohen. Colour in black and white consists of paintings, drawings and recent prints made in
collaboration with Sarah Hunkin at the David Krut Workshop. Cohen has been a practicing architect
for over 30 years and has a great deal of experience in his field. When the lockdown hit in 2020,
however, he felt an inherent need to create outside of the boundaries of architecture. In contrast to
the structural, precise and strictly planned application found in architecture, Cohen found the
process of painting allowed him more freedom to be creative in a way that he had not practiced
Cohen’s journey in painting was very spontaneous. He describes scratching around the house one
evening for materials that he could use to make a painting. In creating his first painting, Cohen felt
an overwhelming sense of liberation in the process and continued to make another and another
until making work became compulsive. In many of his paintings, fine lines and a meticulous
construction of shapes in shades of grey produce a sort of ‘bitmap’ image that defines a display
space and colour for each ‘pixel’ in the work. This pixilation imagery is in high contrast to some of
the references Cohen draws on, including Classical sculpture, 18th century paintings the likes of
Thomas Gainsborough, as well as tapestries and rugs, with their grid base inspiring his weave-like
marks. The visual of the image is simultaneously abstract and figurative. Cohen uses linework and
contour to explore the optical properties of light and reflection. This network of methodical line-
marks, each following a precise pathway composed by the architect-artist, weaves an almost digital
screen of handwork.
Cohen’s connectivity to the realm of art has always been present. He attended art history lectures as
part of his architectural degree and has always taken into account the art that would hang on the
walls of the houses he designs. Cohen applies himself to studying classical and ancient artworks in an
exploration of different ways of making marks. He has experimented with a range of materials
including oil paint on paper and board as well as charcoal drawings. The artist does not work from
specific references but is committed to finding meaning in the process.
The experience of working in the workshop brought another facet to his art-making. More than any
other artist to spend time in the workshop, the printmaking process was new and the environment
unfamiliar. Cohen’s prints, however, show that his visual language is vigorous, and thinking through
the development of images and their resolution is second nature to the artist.