Charged Images

Luisa Cohrs at ASV web

Beginning July 3, 5-8 pm during the First Friday Art Walk, Art Space Vincennes will open with Magic Realism of Luisa Cohrs.  The exhibition will continue through August 15.

An overview of Luisa Cohrs’ work immediately evokes an enigmatic energy. Vaguely familiar abstract shapes take on a presence, ghost-like and figurative, as in a strange, but seductive, dream that one wonders about throughout the following days.  The subject matter, hankies, doilies and other remnants, are charged with memories from a past, from someone, even some place, previously known.  They are a form of autobiography or a diary of visual connotations. The objects not only symbolize Cohrs’ mother in Colombia; they visually become her mother in these images. In this sense they are surreal.

Cohrs was born shortly after the end of the Colombian civil war (1947-1959), the residue of which lingered through the survivors on both sides, her mother for one, and funerals of others who participated.  To a child’s eyes and ears, such post war atmosphere even years later, stamped the awareness of disruption, reorganization, caution, and the winds of danger, hope and relief. That was this child’s normal.  Moving to the States at 16, she found a new normal, young, positive, and hopeful.

As Cohrs matured, she, as we all do, recalled the things of her past:  her friends, acquaintances, her culture, the objects in her house, her family’s identity, her country, feelings, the color and music of South America.  Her MFA show in graduate school was titled “The Scent of Bitter Almonds Always Reminded Him of the Fate of Unrequited Love”, words taken from the first lines of the book Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Marquez and others are known for their South American genre of literature called Magic Realism.  The surreal qualities of Cohrs’ work remind one of Magic Realism, which can be also associated with other visual artists. This artist was apprehensive about the association earlier in her career, but now can accept it, as her work now stands on its own.

Such stylistic company implies another dimension to these private reminiscences—social consciousness and political symbolism—which, perhaps, relate to the roles that her family might have taken during the turmoil of her native country. In any case, these images speak with a personal elegance, power and authenticity rare in contemporary art.

Art Space Vincennes is at 521 Main Street Vincennes, IN 47591 and is open for viewing 12 – 5 pm Tuesday thru Friday and 11-2 on Saturdays. Questions? 812-887-6145.

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