On Barbara E. Cohen’s “Venetian Pipes”
By Marina Karem

Barbara Cohen's captures another Venice, the real one, the everyday one, not the Disney World, cardboard prop deliberately transformed for tourists on the go. She is an artist who has the capacity to see beyond the cheap romanticism of crumbling facades or strident new plaster linings focusing rather on the vibrant pulsations of everyday life. She sees what most people overlook. Instead of capturing the past, the glorious past the Venetians so insistently try to sell, she finds beauty and rhythm in the humble shapes: the pipe-coverings, the red , yellow or blue corrugated plastic sleeves sheathing the exposed utilities pipes. In her hands, these forms become urban flowers; blooms rising up from the dirty pavement. Barbara's clean and bold compositions have the electrifying appeal of jazz and, as such, they compel the viewer to live in the spontaneity of the moment and appreciate the invigorating combinations of forms and colors. Barbara Cohen's excerpts of urban life confront the viewer with the immediate. They are improvisations capable of expressing the élan-vital of modern Venice. In her works Venice's heart is still beating... Listen... Look... There is a hidden life in Barbara Cohen's Venetian "pipes."