Raphaele Cohen-Bacry: The Only Game in Town

Raphaele Cohen-Bacry's The Only Game in Town is a playful exhibit of collaged jumbo-playing cards.

Artist statement

Several years ago I stopped using paint brushes or any direct tools in an effort to break patterns and repetition, and I developed new ways of approaching painting.

The natural evolution of this research brought me to collage. This is an old practice that I always felt was underused. What is innovative in the way I approach collages is the fact that I am using a lot of pictures of artworks from auction magazines. I tear and assemble images of famous art to create new images of my own.

I also use large pieces of wall paper on my bigger pieces. This is my way of repurposing material and paying tribute to artists that came before me.

I purposely play with scale, by using large and small fragments of the same artwork, or images of the whole work and its details. This game of enlargement and reduction of the image confuses the distant and the near, and forces the eye to adjust. The viewer is therefore invited to pay attention to the illusion that the image creates.

These collages evoke recurrent themes such as the new versus the old, the sublime versus the trivial, the famous versus the obscure, and my latest research is about playing cards. Here too I am playing with scale, using “jumbo” cards as a basis for the collages.

I believe we are all looking for consolation and exhilaration, especially during the difficult times we are experiencing now. Some people revert to games, gambling, alcohol, etc, while others are putting their hopes into art. These large collaged cards are an attempt to reconcile the different ways we use as coping mechanisms and an uplifting way to look at ourselves and the world we live in. --Raphaele Cohen-Bacry

Raphaele Cohen-Bacry was born and raised in Paris, France. As a child she was already attracted to drawing, painting, and “making things,” but she never entertained the idea of becoming an artist before her mid twenties. As an adult she studied painting and engraving in various schools in France while completing her Doctorate in pharmacology and a degree in performing arts at l’Ecole de la Rue Blanche in Paris. She painted in her studio in Paris for several years, spending a few months in New York now and then to work with other artists and was told that Los Angeles was the place to be. In 2003 she finally moved to LA. The feeling of freedom and possibility has influenced her creation process greatly. Cohen-Bacry considers art as a personal quest and her studio as a laboratory where she conducts experiments to create images that do not exist in the real world. Her style is deeply rooted in art history, but also very relevant to our era. She was influenced by movements such as CoBrA and Lyrical abstraction (or Tachisme) as they leave room for intuition and non-premeditation. She exhibits her artwork nationally and internationally in alternative spaces and professional galleries, in addition to selling her work to corporations, hospitals, etc. 

On exhibit at Sahara West Library from March 7 through June 11, 2023

Reception: Thursday, March 9, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Monday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Tuesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM