Nancy Cohen, Hackensack Dreaming, 2014-2015. Glass, handmade paper, rubber, wire, and monofilament, approx. 20 x 30 x 11 ft.

Nancy Cohen

Jersey City, New Jersey

Visual Arts Gallery, New Jersey City University

Hackensack Dreaming, Nancy Cohen’s powerful, affecting installation, attempted to salvage a bit of nature from the depredations of manmade interventions at Mill Creek Marsh near the Hackensack River. Cohen characterizes the site as among the ugliest in the state, a concrete jungle that leads nowhere. At the same time, life persists—specifically in the stumps of a former cedar forest, which provide an unlikely home for plants and birds. The confluence of these two environments—one manmade and dominant and the other natural and determined to survive—is key to Cohen’s work. She uses all manner of materials—handmade paper, glass, and rubber—to characterize the tragic, but persevering voice of nature. As Christina Catanese points out in her catalogue essay, “Our world is giving rise to more and more of these novel ecologies.” Cohen’s version may help us to appreciate at least one of them in its disabled splendor. …see the entire review in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.