The an old abandon apartment in Oslo was the backdrop to present two incredible artists with their unique pieces and counter balancing each other, resulting in creating serene settings.
Yamamoto Masao has his small and poignant work that when presented together creates visual poems that linger on the mind. The counter part is the work of Jeff Cowen. Cowen’s large format pieces are seen, through sculptural presences, presenting the viewer with painterly-layered portraits, beautiful in their abstraction, an energetic balance between subject and form.
A weekend of art and artists talks.
Jeff Cowen is an energetic artists that needs to create in life. He is driven by art history, old painters, sculptures, and bringing it into the contemporary art world. His medium is photography. Since the mid 1990’s Cowen has used black-and-white film photography to create incredible art portraits. He utilizes the human figure, landscapes, and still life, interlocked with abstract thought he produces challenging layered work. Cowen’s large format silver gelatin prints evolve from hours in the darkroom where he dances between the developer and chemicals producing unique painterly pieces. Once out of the darkroom and dried the work in itself becomes sculptures when presented on the wall, framed or not. He often experiments with variations of one image for more than a year before he’s ready to share it, pushing his medium beyond set boundaries.
“I needed to introduce color somehow. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing at first, I was experimenting and feeling free. I started working directly with the negative instead of a camera. I used chemistry, pens, markers, scratches to make marks on 8 x 10 negatives. There’s a diptych in the new show that has pink in it — that’s from chemicals on black-and-white photo paper; I didn’t add color to make that pink. On others I’ve used some paint for color, oils and acrylic, and chemistry, and put it all in the sink under water, added some matte medium, see what happens.” Jeff Cowen // LensCulture
// I have discussed the spiritual traditions of Japan, and when I create my art, I have constantly been forced to ask myself: What kind of pictures do I want to create? What is the purpose of creating them? What pictures should I be creating, as an artist living here and now? However, it is only recently, after discovering that the spirit of the Japanese people since ancient times, also lives within me, that I have finally been able to catch a glimpse of the answer.
When I created the two series called "A Box of Ku" and "Nakazora", it was through a process of trial and error. Later, by extracting the essence of all that had accumulated through those 15 years, I arrived at the "Kawa=Flow" series. I believe this work reflects my arriving at a deeper understanding of the purpose of my art.
In my latest work, "Shizuka=Cleanse", I have developed this further and attempted to create a series of pictures that hopefully will shine a light into the viewer's heart, stirring that indefinable "something" that I believe exists deep within each of us. //