Curated by Midori Yoshimoto
Tucked between a Walmart, outlet malls, and a wastewater treatment plant, yet within view of the New York City skyline, the wetlands of the Hackensack River spoke to artist Nancy Cohen as an “isolated puddle of the organic in a deluge of the human-made.” Remnant stumps of an ancient cedar forest emerge from the water, with the hum of the greater metropolitan area forming a backdrop. Yet, nature has adapted and carried on despite this disturbance, with plants and birds making unlikely homes in this space full of contradictions.
In her catalog essay, art historian Anne Swartz writes "While Cohen's reference for this locale of the Hackensack recalls the many artists fascinated by waterways who persistently return to study sections of a single river, she is neither rendering a carefully observed marsh not detailing a recording of a waterway. Instead, Cohen meditates on the collision between geopolitics and the biosphere through her representation of rivers and water and phenomena. ....She's using her study of this site as a way to delve into the web of social, political and economic relations."
Cohen’s installation creates its own environment and transports viewers to a wholly new space. Made of glass, handmade paper, rubber, and other materials, Hackensack Dreaming explores fragility, perseverance, and the new realities produced by the human and natural colliding in unexpected ways.
Hackensack Dreaming was previously presented at New Jersey City University, Duke University, and the Schuylkill Center. The UrbanGlass presentation includes a new, site-specific 16' glass and paper installation.