BioBarbara Kemp Cowlin is an acrylic painter who creates images of details of architectural spaces with a skewed perspective and fanciful colors. She lives and works in Oracle, Arizona, USA, painting in the studio located adjacent to her home.
Her drive to capture the ephemeral magic of shifting light and shadow, reflections and the illusion of movement is an ongoing challenge. She builds paintings with rich surfaces of texture and layers creating depth and complexity. The happy accident is integral to her art making process. She works on multiple paintings at the same time, keeping her work fluid and energetic as she moves back and forth among paintings.
She is a recipient of the 2019 Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Individual Artist Grant.
Her work has been included in the City of Phoenix Arts Collection; the University of Arizona Special Collections; Providence Medical Center in Everett, Washington; Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; First Bancorp Headquarters in Troy, North Carolina.; Baylor University Medical Center, Houston, Texas; Edison and Sprinkles Architecture and Design, Vancouver, British Columbia; Grafix, Maple Heights, Ohio. read more
Art StatementWhen I wander around interiors and exteriors of the built landscape I am aware of the details of edges, angles, shapes, colors. The way that light illuminates these solid surfaces and makes them glow captivates me.
These impressions are where the paintings in the “Askew” series begin. They are full of deliberate contradictions: solidly colored shapes vs mottled; hard edges vs ragged; wacky color combinations with bright colors against muted; and angles, where I contrast accurate perspective with skewed angles to create confusion. Taking a solid form and and making it luminous and ethereal creates its’ own contradiction. The paintings investigate the way in which the elements of color, shape, pattern and perspective define and transform spatial relationships.
The purpose of these contradictions is to create the combination of beauty with unsettling elements that sneaks up on the viewer. A creepy sense of humor from unrelated elements slips into the paintings. Jarring colors don’t make sense until they do. The relationship between abstraction and representation creates additional tensions between the pictorial and actual space for the viewer to puzzle out. read more