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New work by artist Paul Cowan on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Installation view, BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Paul Cowan, MCA Chicago, Nov 6, 2012 - Mar 5, 2013. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
CHICAGO, IL.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents new work by artist Paul Cowan as part of the BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works exhibition series. Cowan draws from several recent bodies of painting, sculpture, and installation that revolve around mark making, composition, and artistic authorship. These concerns are at the heart of debates about painting, and Cowan has found inventive ways to address them. Cowan’s exhibition, curated by James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Michael Darling, runs through March 5, 2013.

By incorporating artistic processes and materials as varied as commercial sign painting, fishing lures, and musical notation, Cowan challenges the careful craft and touch of the artist while opening up new discussions about the significance of the painter’s gesture. Focusing on the decorative flourishes that commercial sign painters use to advertise products at local liquor or grocery stores, Cowan reveals how painterly marks and colors attract the eye in the everyday realm. Stripped of content, these marks --squiggles, starbursts, emphatic underlines -- reinvigorate gesture with real-world urgency and purpose.

Paul Cowan was born in Kansas City and currently lives and works in Chicago. He received his BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago. Exhibitions include Clifton Benevento in New York; Young Art in Los Angeles; James Cohan in New York; Golden Age in Chicago; Michael Jon in Miami; Green Gallery in Milwaukee; and Shane Campbell in Chicago. His work was included in the recent MCA exhibition Phantom Limb: Approaches to Painting Today in 2012. BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works is a series dedicated to artists of all generations, and at various points in their careers, living and working in Chicago. The exhibition series, which launched in November 2011, presents new work by four artists each year.

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