Marin Arts & Culture MAC_JUNE_upload - Page 18

From left to right: Peter Strindberg, Jack Kamesar, Harry Cohen, Brian Carter, Skip Henderson. Not Pictured, Bruce Burtch. Photo by Alex Schwartz. By Bruce Burtch W ith eyes about four inches from the canvas, I was admiring the magnificent, though seemingly random brushstrokes of the towering Abstract Expressionist painting. “Do you want to meet the artist?” asked Agne Christensen, owner of Room Art Gallery in Mill Valley, startling me out of my intense exploration. Coming straight towards us was this diminutive older gentleman (and at 92, he is all three) with a huge smile, sparkling eyes and a slightly 18 MARIN ARTS & CULTURE balding head accented by tufts of wavy white hair. “Hi, I’m Harry, do you like my work?” he asked loudly. His hearing is challenged. It was love at first sight. OK, maybe just a very intense like, but I had just come face-to-face with a mini-me version of Santa Claus. His paint- splattered pants (worn even at his own art show opening), rumpled clothes and sincere handshake made a wonderful, welcoming first impression. Harry Cohen exudes warmth. About 1O days later, I was immersed in his home/studio high up in the redwoods of Woodacre, which was full of paintings, mobiles, sculptures, tables packed with hue-laden brushes and innumerable paint cans. Even the floor, walls and ceiling exploded with color—random drops of creativity flung everywhere. Given the myriad of hanging artwork, the light streaming in through the windows had to compete with the lack of available air space.