Elaine Lustig Cohen studied at Newcomb College at Tulane University in 1945/46,
and completed her BFA at the University of Southern California. She has worn
many hats in her career- artist, graphic designer, art dealer, and archivist.
Her experience and knowledge in each of these fields has been mutually influential,
forming a complex interweaving between art history and her personal creative
endeavors. She is an inheritor of modernism- in her early graphic design,
abstract painting, and the collage aesthetic of Dada and Constructivism. The
collage work in particular, continuously explores the possibilities and graphic
juxtapositions of typeface, shapes, colors and their interplay with photography.
The photographs have generally suggested the direction the collages take in
their aesthetic style and overall gestalt. Cohen's collage photographic materials
are often found in flea markets, particularly in Mallorca where she lives
in the summer. Japanese maidens, senoritas, bourgeois families, all find their
way into a graphic environment which both responds to and forms the meaning
of the visual image. Whether on assignment or working for herself, there is
a playfulness and a surety to all of Cohen's productions. For the last several
years Cohen has used and mastered various digital techniques which have made
there way into the formation of her works.
From the 1970s until around 1998, she maintained a gallery called Ex Libris
on the upper East Side, which she founded with her second husband, the publisher
and author Arthur Cohen. The gallery was well ahead of its time in the handling
of avant-garde books, posters, collages, paintings and decorative arts. Through
1985, Lustig Cohen worked in large scale abstract paintings, although she
also created decorative objects including boxes, a sewing kit and hats. Later
she began to use found photographs and ephemeral material collected over the
years to create witty and complex collages. She has had five solo exhibitions
at Julie Saul Gallery including a retrospective survey held in 2007/ 2008
in conjunction with the Pavel Zoubok Gallery commemorating her 80th birthday.
A catalog is available from that show. Most recently Lustig Cohen has completed
a series of portrait collages of modernist artists carried out in the style
of that artists' work.
The Geometry of Seeing 1970-2007 [view
Alphabet 2005-2006 [view
Palladio Vignole 2005-2006 [view
Signscapes 2004 [view