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Adele Rieger Cohen

Adele Rieger Cohen

(1922-2002)

Abstract artist and longtime participant in the Western New York arts community, Adele Rieger Cohen’s work addresses the sometimes darker side of the human condition. Inspired by war, health, and societal issues, her work has the ability to evoke a feeling of consumption and despair, through a primarily monochromatic painting/collage style. Frequently she would combine material that speaks to the sinewy nature of our own muscular structure, conveying a delicateness that is juxtaposed with a heaviness of the darkness that dominates her work.

Ben Perrone, artist and friend of Adele, said, “I was very close to Adele and her work, so it’s no wonder that I think of her in the best terms as both an artist and a person. However, I can, I think, still see her work without prejudice and how it compares to her contemporaries, both here in Buffalo and in the national art scene. I see her as the best artist of her peers here in this area and one of the best artists on the national scene. She had a disciplined work ethic and the amazing ability to abstract both personal and greater emotional responses to the events of the day.”

In a catalog accompanying an exhibition, Jennifer Bayles, art historian, museum educator, and grant writer at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery [MOU1] writes, “Adele Cohen’s life and art are inextricably linked…Cohen’s childhood was lived in the shadow of the Great Depression while her early adulthood was shaped by an awareness of the human horrors of World War II. She matured as a woman, artist, wife, and mother in the political unrest of the 1960s and ’70s while her artistic development coincided with the rise of an American avant-garde that rejected regionalism and social realism in favor of abstract and more universal styles. Free from direct influences and often turning her back on trends in the contemporary art world, Cohen developed an abstract style that was rooted in expressionism, reflected her views on the human condition and was embedded in a basic philosophic base that sought beauty on the dark side of life."