“Every child is born an artist. The problems begin when they grow up.” – Picasso
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is home to collections and exhibits that attract thousands of visitors each year from around the world. The museum is also situated along the most popular running course in Philadelphia, “The River Drive Loop,” that attracts thousands of local and visiting runners. The loop is a scenic 8.4-mile course that rivals in beauty any that I’d run throughout the country. It passes such famous sites as Boathouse Row, The Waterworks, the shadow of Memorial Hall, the Rocky statue at the bottom of the museum steps, historic Laurel Hill Cemetery and Benjamin Franklin Parkway with Billy Penn sitting atop City Hall in the distance.
My present home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is rich in art and literature, as well. Bucks is a serene county that many literary greats including Pearl Buck and James Michener called home, as did the Pennsylvania Impressionists. Today, writers and artist alike are drawn to the serenity of Bucks County.
Last summer, the The Bucks County Herald featured a painting titled “The Runner” by Alex Cohen. The painting, which coincided with the Summer Olympics, was accompanied by an essay in which Cohen observed, “Like a sculpture released from a block of marble, athletic training gives the body distinction.”
In his essay, Cohen said, “The great variety of games on display at the Olympics allow us to see by comparison what each sport demands of the body. Whether it is the bulk needed to support the weight lifter, or the leanness required of long distance runners, these athletes have tailored their bodies to be the best tools for the task.”
Cohen makes an interesting correlation between athletics and his art in the context of boundaries. Athletes measure their performance against the boundary of the physical world, say the three-hour marathon or four-minute mile. His painting “The Runner” challenges the imagination to create its own boundaries.
You can view more of Alex Cohen’s work at his website Welcome to the Magpie.