I am blown away by the paintings of Benjamin Cohen. The beautiful way he uses color, his own unique style of painting, as well as his compositions are all perfection. There is also something off setting about his work. The fleshy feeling he evokes is sometimes uncomfortable, or perhaps that’s my reaction to his use of pigs. Pigs freak me out. When I was in Bali a couple years ago I had this sleepless night filled with the sounds of pigs being sacrificed for a traditional Hindu holiday. Among the rice fields and throughout the entire night, each family’s compound sacrificed one pig. The gurgling sounds were really the worst. But that night, once I decided that sleep just wasn’t happening, my mind raced through my sketchpad with ideas. Yin yang. I don’t want to get hung up on the pigs, but I am curious about how they became the subject matter for some of his paintings. Beyond that, his portraits are amazing. Detailed yet not photorealistic by any means. I feel like I know how his subject’s skin feels. So beautiful.
“I do not want to convey how a subject ‘looks’ and have no desire to do the subject justice.”
Study of a Pig’s Head, 2009, oil on canvas, 153 x 105cm
Study of a Boat and a Mirror, 2011 oil, acrylic and bitumen on canvas 200 x 160cm
Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas on board, 200 x 140cm
In Memory of Sam, 2011 oil, acrylic, and bitumen on canvas, 230 x 167cm
Study of Philip I, 2010, oil on canvas, 183 x 210cm
Images via Benjamin Cohen Studio.