Jun 12, 2008

Eileen Cowin

Untitled from Family Docudrama series 20" x 24" © 1980-83 ( and no, she is not using herself twice like I tend to do, that is her twin sister! seriously.)

Untitled from Family Docudrama series 20" x 24" © 1980-83

A new find and a very cool one indeed. With over hundreds of exhibits (solo and group) since 1971, I feel I should get out more for not having seen her work earlier. Especially with her use of self portrait in combination with mise-en-scene (aka "setup" photography)... hmmm I know I've heard of that being done? ha.

Below is an excerpt from a writeup that was posted on her site. The first paragraph is great, then the second gets into the whole "based on religious works of art and/or paintings" crap that I just don't understand the significance of? Maybe I missed the boat, but where is the orginality of basing something on something else? It seems a lot harder create a scene from your imagination than to recreate a painting?

Eileen Cowin (published by Gallery Min, 1987)
by Mark Johnstone

The photographs by Eileen Cowin symbolically explore interpersonal relationships between people. The basis for her current work dates to 1978 when she began to create and direct imaginary scenarios of domestic life. These pieces depicted aspects of relationships occurring between and among people—including moments of terse confrontation, sibling rivalry, romantic interlude, and mundane daily chores—which were either depicted alone or humorously blended together. The emotional or psychological feelings stimulated by these images are largely generated by the visual devices of gesture or pose that Cowin incorporates into the photographs.

There are numerous precedents or parallels for Cowin’s approach within the continuum of art, from historical tableaux vivant paintings to contemporary media such as cinema or television. Thematic similarities between Cowin’s photographs and specific paintings are intentional; these parallels are not exclusively formal, but an engagement of the indescribable and elusive movements that have been present, yet are frequently hidden or submerged, within human life throughout recorded time. They may be forms of awakening in the human spirit or soul, as can be described through words like “redemption,” “corruption,” “salvation,” and “grace”. These particular concepts have deep and resonant symbolic significance within western Judeo-Christian religious tradition, from the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to that moment when a mortal Virgin Mary learns that she has been divinely blessed and is carrying the Son of God in her womb.

Visit Eileen Cowin Website for more images and articles ...


jimmieknuckles said...

everything is from something else my duder,
imagination is just a bunch of electric impulses forming thought based on memory,

who knows man, maybe youll start spouting off about some weird religious,greco roman,jive talk one of these days

space monkeys and shit

or maybe everyone just makes it up because theyre pretentious asses and feel the need to justify hefty price tags

Aaron said...

Hey man, if someone else wants to write something about how my image of "steeltown" reflects the image of Jesus carrying the cross up the hillside of cagayan calvary outside of Jerusalem where he was later killed, then that's cool.

You just won't hear me saying that.

Influenced subconsciously by the art and photography and TV and movies growing up... perhaps so. But never a reenactment of some other dude or dudettes work.

Aaron said...

And don't get me wrong... I like her work and I like Jeff Wall's work and I like most artists work that is a tribute or reflective of another piece of art, etc... I just don't see the importance that it plays on it's value?

Just like Crewdson. As much as I bash on him for just being a wonderful director and not a photographer, I still love his books and am dying to see his work in person.

I suppose controversy is what makes good art and artist...or at least what lends a hand in making them popular.

I've thought about about doing a fun little series with the 12 stations of the cross that involved a local alcoholic as my Jesus, but I wouldn't put a price tag on it or stress the importance of it's reference.

jimmieknuckles said...

seriously, from now on, if anyone asks, let them know that your work is heavily influenced by the experiences of one andy capp,

and that you also like his fries.

if youre not going to use it, i will, it needs to be done

Aaron said...


Steven said...

Shit man, imagine how much easier it'd be to have a twin. You could work WAY faster, huh?