Larry Cohan was my brother. He passed away September 8, 2019 at the young age of 64. In the last decade of his life, he painted in earnest. After the flooding in 2013, his painting took him to a new and vibrant place. In the months following the flood, he painted the scenes of the destruction that he witnessed and imagined. He had a creative and sometimes humorous take on these visions. I think they helped him process the radical changes that ripped though Lyons during that time.
In the years leading up to the flood, he often used his drawing for visual problem solving: to help him build fences, doors, and furniture, and to imagine how buildings and parks might evolve. Once, I asked him to draw a design for a bookshelf and room partition for my apartment. What he produced remains one of my favorite pieces of art. He drew the bookshelf as a fence in folksy detail, with plants, coats, and books on the shelves and hooks. The bookshelf was sitting at the end of a bed with a coverlet, a little round rug, and a cat on the bed. The shelf was a second-story window, through which you could see a truck parked on the street below. Beyond the vehicle were scenes from the neighbor’s yard. This was like my brother, full of details and meandering stories that lead from one into the next. Looking at this drawing is a treat. It is like riding a train through the countryside of Larry’s imagination.
It is an honor that the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission offered to exhibit Larry’s artwork in the new Lyons Regional Library. Lyons was dear to him. He had fiercely held visions of utopias involving art centers, concert venues, gardens, and playgrounds. These centered around his vision of a prospector’s cabin–a log structure with a fireplace, a long welcoming porch, sandstone patios, and a wishing well. He was that prospector, and the gold he sought was in the Lyons that he loved–and in the mountain streams he painted.
Please join us in honoring Larry at an exhibition of his work.
Larry Cohan’s Neighborhood Retrospective
February 5 – April 3
Opening Reception Wednesday February 5 from 5:30 pm – 7 pm
Lyons Regional Library
451 Fourth Avenue