The Leslie Sacks Gallery hosted Bruce Cohen for an opening reception titled “Studies” on Saturday, June 9. Works featured in the exhibition included views of still lifes, home interiors, and other familiar scenes.

Inside the gallery, Cohen’s pastel artwork lined the walls. According to the artist, his work is “built from an amalgam of memories and observations”. Picturesque Drawings spans from 2004 to 2018. Cohen, who studied at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said that “drawing is the fundamental way of learning to see…and is arguably the most important skill as a visual artist.” His work evokes Odilon Redon, Edgar Degas and Eduoard Vuillard, artists who all worked in pastel.

Bruce Cohen’s “Etudes” feature familiar scenes.

Raphael Sonenshein, a professor at Cal State Los Angeles, was present with his wife and daughter. His daughter Anna explained that her best friend was the artist’s daughter. “I like people who have pieces of their house, it’s basically a house I grew up in,” Anna said; she has known Cohen for nearly 22 years.

“The drawings featured in this exhibition are an integral part of Cohen’s process, providing rare insight into the development of his oil paintings,” said the exhibit’s curators.

Photos: Michael Ray. Bruce Cohen with a pastel drawing (left) and an oil painting (right).

While all of the artworks featured were thematically linked by its focus on interiors, the most notable piece was the 2018 artist, “Interior with Halved Peach”, an oil on canvas painting that measured 54 x 36 inches.

Cohen has been painting for over 40 years, and his work is held in public and private collections, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Frederick R. Weisman Foundation, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim. Museum.

The exhibition brought together longtime friends and art lovers.

“I’ve always loved his pastel work, having given him one a few years ago (it hangs on the wall next to my desk),” said Temma Nanas, gallery director Leslie Sacks. “About a year ago I was visiting Bruce in his studio when he opened a flat file drawer revealing a handful of these pastel studies… Seeing them at that time, I immediately said: “We have to have an exhibition! It took a bit of cajoling on my part because these are very personal works for Bruce and he doesn’t let them out for the world to see. But I think it’s important to share this part of his mind and process in order to illuminate a fuller picture of the artist. The exhibition is presented until July 28. For more information, visit: www.lesliesacks.com.

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