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Paul Cowan

American, b. 1985

207 followers
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Paul Cowan

American, b. 1985

207
Followers
Biography

Paul Cowan makes painting-like objects that allude to and upend painterly conventions. Drawn from the worlds of commercial signage and fine art, his hybrid objects often feature enamel, rather than paint, applied to canvas. For one body of work, Cowan hired professional sign-makers to make simple gestures—squiggles, borders, and scalloped lines—in primary colors on his works' surfaces. Such marks, both utilitarian and painterly, question the boundary between functional and artistic painting. Other works involve monochromatic or patterned fabric in which the artist has attached a small fish hook. The glistening silver bauble attracts the viewer’s eye, serving as a literal and metaphorical hook—a prompt to consider the ways paintings ask for and command our attention.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
MCA Chicago
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Glasgow International
Biography

Paul Cowan makes painting-like objects that allude to and upend painterly conventions. Drawn from the worlds of commercial signage and fine art, his hybrid objects often feature enamel, rather than paint, applied to canvas. For one body of work, Cowan hired professional sign-makers to make simple gestures—squiggles, borders, and scalloped lines—in primary colors on his works' surfaces. Such marks, both utilitarian and painterly, question the boundary between functional and artistic painting. Other works involve monochromatic or patterned fabric in which the artist has attached a small fish hook. The glistening silver bauble attracts the viewer’s eye, serving as a literal and metaphorical hook—a prompt to consider the ways paintings ask for and command our attention.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
MCA Chicago
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Glasgow International