‘I have a great love of things that human beings have made. Visual things; some of which are utilitarian, some are made for aesthetic pleasure. I have a great love of weaving; Navaho weaving, for example, and Mimbres pottery too; I love painting of all kinds from all countries; but something happened in the earliest part of the twentieth century – the Duchampian thing about what was, and what was not, a work of art. It was an absolute red herring. I don’t give a toss whether it’s considered a work of art or not. A great deal of what has gone on throughout the last century is to do with that debate and has nothing really to do with human beings making things. I’m only interested in what human beings make and why they make them. As a painter I am constantly learning, but what I’m not learning from is that quite recent phenomenon called ‘art’. ‘Art employs people.’ It is partly for this very reason that Cohen eschews subject and genre so vehemently and without compromise. As he explains it, the artist who subscribes to a genre is ‘guaranteed an audience of some kind’. Similarly, ‘there have always been artists who gather together an audience by having a subject,’ but to paint a picture without a subject or a genre? – ‘I’ve always been interested in things that didn’t fit into genres and I didn’t inherit one, but I think this is something that has played very heavily upon me – I’ve eschewed that whole thing because I just don’t believe that I can function within it. I can’t paint within it… I can’t think within it… I can’t be me within it… If I have a subject or subscribe to a genre, it ensures that I’m not lost, and I need to be lost. I can’t go into my studio to work if I am not in a state of complete confusion.’

via MCKAY-9.