Just about anyone of hearing could recognize Leonard Cohen with their eyes closed, but even with your eyes open would you recognize his artwork? The answer, actually, is yes.
That’s because the poet, singer and Order of Canada Companion has been drawing self-portraits all his life, whether it’s sketches on napkins or images on a graphics tablet. And, leading up to his highly anticipated concert at Rexall Place on Nov. 18, prints of these sometimes sad sketches of his old age, as well as other prints of drawings of women and nature, are on exhibit at the Bugera-Matheson Gallery (formerly Agnes Bugera Gallery) from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1.
“I just love his gravelly voice when he sings ‘Hallelujah,'” says former gallery owner, Agnes Bugera. “There’s a sense of mysticism and spirituality with what he does.”
Bugera also sees that mysticism in his art, which is characterized by thick, black outlines, a minimal use of colour and often incorporations of his poetry and religious proverbs.
The limited edition prints (some of the artwork is also found in Cohen’s 2006 poetry collection, Book of Longing, or on the cover of his 2004 record, Dear Heather) are usually produced in a run of 100 and are inspected, titled, signed and sealed by Cohen.
“I can’t say if Cohen’s going to appear at this show,” says Bugera. “He’ll sing his songs in front of a big audience, but he’s so shy and never goes to any of his [art] shows.”