Home: Ezra Cohen

Trotter&Sholer is pleased to present Ezra Cohen’s Home, which is an exploration of the foundations of his artistic practice. This is Cohen’s second solo exhibition with Trotter&Sholer.


The exhibition’s title is a tribute to Cohen’s late mentor Knox Martin. Martin, once suggested that, “Home is when there is no you.” Cohen suggests that “Knox believed that art is home. When he listens to Mozart, he is home. When he looks at a Titian, he is home.” Cohen finds this sense of home in his practice. He builds his expressive and layered canvases up over time, spending months rooting his paintings with a sense of history, narrative, and mythology. His process is research heavy, and he spends hours poring over paintings of old masters. From that process of looking, Cohen draws on both history and fantasy to create epic and warped narratives that are barely contained on his canvas.


With Homage to Knox Martin, after Jan De Heem Cohen is revisiting a work Martin made after De Heem’s Still Life with Flowers. Cohen loved Martin’s addition of a lobster to the bottom corner of Martin’s painting, a detail Martin borrowed from another De Heem painting which is now the inspiration for Cohen’s Still Life with Lobster (after De Heem). For Cohen, working from great artists allows him to tap into their muscle memory, to learn from them as teachers long after they are gone.


Home is where transgressions are forgiven. Artistically this is central to Cohen’s practice. Burning Bush and Passover are explorations of familiar stories but through a contemporary lens of awe and incredulity. It is the reverence he has for the rules that governed the artists before him that allows him to break them in his work. He pulls from the memories of great masters, and then rejects what does not work in Cohen’s own contemporary practice, resulting in works that are incredibly rich and mature, while remaining current and alive.


Home is on view at Trotter&Sholer gallery at 168 Suffolk Street through April 8, 2023.