Lynne Cohen is one of Canada’s outstanding photographers. For over thirty years her photographs have consistently represented interior private spaces. These can be places she encounters in her daily life, or as in the case of Classroom (Hercules Bomber), institutional interiors she has sought out in order to reveal unknown and unlikely places where people gather.
Cohen’s black-and-white and colour photographs have captured interiors such as living rooms, offices, spas, men’s clubs, beauty parlours, lobbies, educational settings, and seniors’ care homes, but they are all devoid of people. Only the marks made by the people or the furniture used by the rooms’ inhabitants remain. As Pierre Theberge and William Ewing observe in the preface to No Man’s Land: The Photography of Lynne Cohen, a book of Cohen’s works accompanying the National Gallery’s 2001 exhibition of her work, “Cohen presents us with a chilling vision of the world, a humanly engineered environment where the boundaries between ’inside and outside’, nature and culture’, ’pleasure and pain’, have been blurred and stripped of their original connotations.” (Theberge and Ewing, 2001)
Cohen’s interiors are included in many major gallery collections and have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her successful career was recognized in 2005 when she was awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for her contributions to Canadian art, and again in 2011 when she received the Scotiabank Photography Award. Born in Racine, Wisconsin, she lived and worked in Canada beginning in1973, and most recently resided in Montreal, Quebec. Lynne passed away in Montreal from lung cancer in May of 2014.
Lynne Cohen studied art at the Slade School of Art in London, England, the Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting in Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Arts with a major in sculpture from Eastern Michigan University. Cohen has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, the École des Beaux-arts de Bordeaux, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Eastern Michigan University, Ecole Nationale de la Photographie in Arles, France, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunst in Antwerp, Ecole d’arts appliqués in Vevey, Switzerland, the Virginia Commonwealth University, the EFTI Escuela de Fotografia in Madrid and the University of Ottawa.