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Artist Talk with Ben Cowan

Brooklyn-based artist Ben Cowan chats with Kristen Racaniello about his process for creating "Gates" and his inspiration behind the series exhibiting now in the Gallery at W83

In his series "Gates," Ben Cowan paints familiar landscapes that invite us to explore what is beyond plain sight. His intimate paintings juxtapose the natural with the constructed and invite us to consider all of the forces at work in their creation. His paintings hint at a lively narrative, of unseen hands that created, planted, and cultivated the verdant growth evident in each scene.  Cowan’s work solicits our attention, beckons us forward, yet limits our view to within its borders, asking us to pause and contemplate the crossing of the threshold.

The common settings captured in Cowan’s paintings are frequently passed in the meanderings of city life but also easily overlooked or taken for granted. Cowan grabs our attention with remarkable frames of reclaimed doorways that adorn his work but also force us to take a concentrated view. The apparent restrictions prompt us to consider what permissions may be required to enter a space. Does denial encourage a shift in our perspective?

The talk is free but we'd appreciate an RSVP.

Ben Cowan was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI; received a BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Indiana University. His painting reached a turning point during a residency in Umbria, Italy through the exposure and study of its historic vistas. Ben currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY creating paintings of familiar urban sights cropped, collaged and simplified in order to capture a concentrated experience that refers to the interpersonal and supernatural. His work has been shown in solo and group shows throughout the U.S.

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Kristen Racaniello is a curator, maker and historian of visual art and culture. She graduated from Purchase College with a dual BA/BFA in art history and fine art in 2014. In 2017 Racaniello graduated from Hunter College with a Masters in art history.  She is currently a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center in NYC and an adjunct at Queens College. She is also a Partner at Field Projects gallery and an assistant at Les Enluminures. Racaniello's work is a constant exploration of perspective. Her academic research investigates the performance of devotion, socio-political aesthetics and the materiality of Medieval France, Spain, and Morocco.