Canadian (born in U.S.A.), 1944–2014
Office and Warehouse, Canadian Wildlife Association, Ottawa, 1980
silver print on paper
20 x 25 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with The Photography Endowment of The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
For over three decades, Lynne Cohen has been photographing the interior spaces where we live and work. Unusually devoid of human presence, the subject of her gaze has included living rooms, public halls, laboratories, offices, factories, and spas. This photograph is an early example of her lifelong passion of teasing out the perplexing characteristics that are both funny and disturbing regarding the unnoticed state of the environments we construct for ourselves. Cohen’s work reveals how we are conditioned to order space through the placement of furniture as well as reducing aspects of nature to benign elements of decor. This image of a mural of a fake flock of geese, which acts as a backdrop to a workstation, challenges the viewer to question our compulsion to order and confuse the use of interior spaces.