School of Art and Design
Galleries : Cohen Center and Gallery

History and Purpose

 The Cohen Center for the Arts Gallery exhibits the work of Alfred University alumni, faculty, and visiting artists. The Cohen Gallery, located at 55 North Main Street in Alfred, provides Alfred University students with hands-on experience in arts administration, community development, marketing and public relations, design, and management. Students assist in all facets of the exhibitions, from designing the space to preparing promotional materials and acting as docents during the shows.

The Cohen Gallery seeks to create opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni to engage in the professional activities of curating and organizing art exhibitions from the ground up, thus providing valuable experience in the business aspects of art. The gallery also provides a supportive environment for exhibitions that serve regional constituencies, such as regional arts councils, public schools, and exchanges between regional art programs at the university level.

The Cohen Center for The Arts was created by the generous gift of Michele and Martin Cohen, parents of Adam Cohen, Class of 2003.

Spring 2018 Exhibitions

Ladia Guerra and Victoria Kue
Cohen Artistic Promise Prize Exhibitions
February 2 – March 16, 2018

Ladia Guerra and Victoria Kue open concurrent solo shows at the Cohen Gallery on February 2, 6–9pm.

Ladia Guerra: The Sweat Life
Ladia is fascinated by the artificial world created by contemporary society and is interested in the actions we take to make our lives happier through consumption and social pressure. She observes this by researching American pop culture through social media, television, and personal experience and manipulates her observations through the self. The self acts as a blank canvas to express feelings about her upbringing and her culture.

The Sweat Life explores domestic spaces and the way in which we interact in and view them. The artist has created video works conveying the feeling of loneliness, belonging, and the somewhat grotesque nature of private domestic spaces. The videos insight laughter, feelings of unease, and offer a psychological twist on what a domestic space can be through the lens of commercial objects and characters.

Victoria Kue: what's her face.
Victoria's studio practice stems from her query of autobiography and the investigation of the female narrative within her Hmong–American perspective. Victoria's observations from cultural, bodily and emotional experiences direct her approach to material and representation. Her sculpture, installation, drawings and abstractions evoke conversations about self–identity through patterns, color and language.

what's her face. pushes back at the familial interrogation of a sexually active Hmong–American woman who negotiates and claims ownership with her identity, body and sexuality. Using the house as the setting to confront self-identity, what's her face. explores placement, function and language within domestic objects as a way to recognize the discomfort, struggles and paradoxes within sexual relationships.

The 2016 Cohen Artistic Promise Prize recognized two graduating seniors whose work, hunger, sustained growth and ambition marked them out as those who would continue on as artists beyond their academic training. The Prize, which granted the recipients concurrent solo shows at the Cohen 18 months following graduation, was designed to foster the growth begun in school, encourage the continuation of artistic practice and support the drive needed to reach full artistic potential.

Fall 2017 Exhibitions

November 3-December 8, 2017
Opening reception: November 3, 6-9pm

The Cohen Gallery presents the work of Caroline Charuk (BFA '08), Terry Conrad (BFA '03), Ron Lambert (MFA '04), and SV Randall (BFA '10) in "Residue," curated by Ron Lambert.

As humans we leave a trail behind us- a record of our personal histories. Some of these marks are egregious like the oil spills in the oceans, others are poetic like the subtly scuffed paint surrounding a well-used door knob. The artists in this exhibition are using residue as a tool for making their art. By making objects to create stains, mimic stains, or employ stains for creative reflection, these four artists reflect how residue can create a metaphor for life's experience.

Learn more about the artists' work here:

Concurrent exhibitions by Liz Ainslie and Desiree Des
September 15-October 19, 2017
Opening reception: September 15, 6-9pm

Artists talk prior to exhibition opening:
Liz Ainslie, "Blind Logic: perceptual investigation through logic"
Wednesday, September 13, 4:30pm, Binns 206 Sponsored by the Division of Drawing, Painting, and Photography.

Desiree Des, "Reality Practice: finding what matters to you and your work"
Thursday, September 14, 4:30pm, Binns 206
Sponsored by the Division of Expanded Media.

Exhibitions on view at the Cohen Gallery

Liz Ainslie "The Part of Sight"
The elements within Liz Ainslie's paintings function as fundamental building blocks of perception-represented and rearranged. As a poet might reorder the parts of speech, Ainslie uses the language of abstract painting as a structure upon which to develop a visual investigation of human perception. To this end, the artist has developed a vocabulary of non-objective forms that sidle up with everyday objects, bodies, architecture, and the natural world.

Equally important to Ainslie's work is her manipulation of space through the use of color theory. Each of her paintings holds a record of the color relationships developed by mixing oil paint on the palette and drawing from the memory of observed color. Ainslie uses photography as a sketchbook, capturing interactions between architecture, light with natural interventions on human spaces.

Desiree Des "Real Lookers"
Using consumer-grade cameras, on-demand printing processes, and readymade home goods, Brooklyn-based artist Desire Des examines the tension between the photographic image and its physical presence in space. The works presented in Real Lookers often upend viewer's expectations by throwing the ordinary legibility of snapshots and household wares into question. New perspectives are overlaid on functional objects-like plates, picture frames, and blankets-by compounding their appearances with imagery referring back to themselves. In this fashion, American life's everyday materialism is represented through the interaction of its most familiar implements and their own images-that is, between reality and its depiction.

Des often creates socially engaging contexts for her art multiples, awarding them as prizes at public events, mailing them through the post, or selling them at a low cost in retail environments of her own devisement. This ensures that almost any viewer can choose to take something home and experience it on their own terms-even (and especially) if that means the works are placed into contexts beyond the artist's original intention or control. In this way, Des hopes to encourage conversation about the role of art outside of traditional galleries and underscore how seeing a work over time changes both it and the viewer.

For this show, Des has created a self-service, honor-system, pay-as-you-wish Souvenir Shop where visitors may take home a postcard or poster and "pay" with their own artworks or other monetary and non-monetary offerings. These transactional goods will be displayed on pedestals in the gallery, and contributors are welcome to add the Real Lookers exhibition to their résumé.



Student Internships

Curate at the Cohen

Open Hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday 1pm-3pm


The Cohen Center for The Arts Gallery
Director & Chief Curator
Cindy DeFelice
School of Art and Design
2 Pine Street, Alfred, NY 14802

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