Katy Cowan: winds glow unceasing

Friday, Feb 26 – Apr 10, 2021
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1709 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622


DOCUMENT is pleased to present Katy Cowan’s first exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will open on February 26 and will be on view until April 10. Appointments are required to visit the gallery.

Cowan dissects pattern and fractal repetition in order to play with viewer’s expectations. Her looping aesthetic is the antithesis of clinical. Her skillful use of figure/ground relationships revel in mutability like a hall of mirrors serves up confusion as entertainment. In Cowan’s work, tumult and composure are polar ends of the same rope. In one piece, the rope stretches horizontally in a straight line before puddling in a tangle of strands at either end. The respective puddles appear more dissimilar than alike. Still they reinforce the mirror analogy, staring at one another like siblings, buzzing with color-coded oscillations between object and idea. To be clear, the rope, strands, and puddles are all cast aluminum. 

For all the work’s fluidity and intended ambiguity, there is poise and weight. References to celestial mechanics, innuendo of life unraveling on a studio or mechanic shop’s floor, color palettes that echo artworld luminaries like Hicks and Klee as well as contemporary ad campaigns all emanate from a gravitational center that may be, in the end, the artist as an idea. Cowan’s work is an artist in action, a creative response to the world, a generative disposition that returns, fresh-eyed, day after day. No end in sight.  

- Paul Druecke is an artist and writer finding unexpected value in unlikely combinations. Milwaukee 2021


Katy Cowan (b. 1982, Lake Geneva, WI) received her BFA from University of Puget Sound (Puget Sound, WA) in 2004 and her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA) in 2014. Recent solo and group shows include “winds glow unceasing” at DOCUMENT Gallery (Chicago, IL); “Suns Pass Flat” and ”The Day in the Night,” at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); “Centennial: 100 Years of Otis College Alumni" at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA); "Left, Right, Left, Left" at The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI)’ and "The Blue Sun Moans" at Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). Cowan has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); Fourteen30 Contemporary (Portland, OR); University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Madison, WI); Synchrotron Radiation Center: Home of Aladdin (Stoughton, WI); Poor Farm (Manawa, WI); The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI); and Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY). Cowan's work is in public and private collections such as the Minneapolis Museum of Art (Minneapolis, MN); Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee, WI); Art in Embassies (Maputo, Mozambique); and Northwestern Mutual Insurance (Milwaukee, WI). Her work has been reviewed in “Artforum,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Architectural Digest,” “Wallpaper*,” “Contemporary Art Review LA,” “Artnet” and other publications. Cowan lives and works in Berkeley, CA. She is represented by Phillip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and The Green Gallery (Milwaukee, WI).