reviews > Philadelphia, PN

The worlds we humans can just barely see are some of the most wondrous: the underwater realm, the microscopic and molecular, the galactic. Artists have long known this, especially the Surrealists, many of whom were keen observers—and borrowers—of contemporaneous scientific imagery, especially as it developed to include coral reefs and the cosmos. Zoe Cohen’s latest watercolors depict dense tangles of organic matter in shades ranging from muddy brown and swampy green through cool blues and moody lilacs. Patterns and shapes emerge and are almost but not totally recognizable: not quite coral, sort of foliage, maybe sea shells. The effect is dizzying and marvelous, grounded in the real but surmounting it with something that can be felt only by those who are open to it. For folks needing a little help, the inclusion of shimmery gold paint and, in the case of “Golem Eyes,” a pair of mysterious peepers, offers a nudge in the right direction.

—Lori Waxman 10/15/2023 6:01 PM