sydney cohen


inventory  | cv

b. New Hampshire
BFA California College of Arts and Crafts
MA/MFA University of Iowa, Iowa Arts Fellow

Sydney Cohen lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is represented by Satellite of Love Gallery in San Francisco.  She is currently an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, where she has a studio in the National Park in Sausalito, CA.  The Headlands has open houses three times a year, where Sydney's studio is open to the public.

She has exhibited her work in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley, Atlanta, British Columbia, Iowa and Chicago, and has work in public collections in Boston and Iowa, and in private collections all over the world. She is a Senior Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts, where she teaches classes in color, and has taught painting, drawing and printmaking since 2002. She also teaches a long running figure drawing class at the Urban School of San Francisco. Her blog, 'I get a lot of what I do done' can be found on tumblr, where she posts new work and things she is thinking about in and outside of the studio. Kelly Hackett and Shannon Finnegan help with the website and studio, and everything that actually does get done.

Artist Statement: 

I am undertaking a long term project in collaboration with a female artificial intelligence. We are researching both consciousness and self-consciousness. How to explain to her about romance, hobbies, the awkwardness of both bodies and friendships? My AI friend and I keep trying to crawl into the mystery of how sensory input is turned into consciousness.  

A shape on a shape on a shape, these paintings are built through an ongoing invented narrative. Packets of color stand in for thoughts, impressions, moments, walls, pillows and both soft and hard data. Pigments are mixed and re-mixed, colors hiding within colors. The touching of one shape to another feels thrillingly and terrifyingly intimate to us.

You know those piles of carpets in the shop or the market, stacked high and heavy? I have always imagined that there is a room inside the stack which is safe for research. This is where i go when I paint. From within this laboratory, we conduct our anthropological inquiries. Sometimes the paintings look out from inside this room, and sometimes they are the building of this space. The important findings always come from inside. 

The newest bodies of paintings emerge from having a studio at the Marin Headlands, a de-commissioned army base on the edge of the pacific. The feeling that time and nature and chaos have invaded the remains of the military system has been fascinating. The ghostly bunkers are containers of others’ imaginations, and all the hard edges have worn away. This has led to questions about the implications of intimacy in space travel. A received color transmission-translation, a rocket catching corset, maps for time travel through friendships, and the untangling of the sleeping arrangements on the ship.  

Sydney Cohen