January 7 – February 26, 2016
Jack Cowin, Spring Run (detail), lithograph (A.P. 10/10), 1985, The Saskatchewan Arts Board Permanent Collection.
JACK COWIN: WORKS
Jack Cowin (1947 - 2014)
Jack Cowin’s art practices was motivated by his love of animals and the outdoors. His works consistently feature natural themes, as reflected in this selection of prints. Cowin’s depiction of minimal environmental elements in Brown (Western Trout Series) or the complete removal of them altogether in Spring Run allows us to focus on the essential character of his main subject. Here, his masterful renderings let the fish seemingly swim through an open expanse of paper. The etchings included here are embellished with watercolours to bring them to their final state. These pieces suggest a memory of the fish in its natural habitat, rather than showing it as a trophy or meal. Likewise, Swan River’s iconic imagining of a bear is something that few have the opportunity to see. Cowin invites us to see the beauty of these animals through his work.
He began his schooling at Indiana University with designs of being a medical illustrator; he later transferred from a Visual Communication degree to a Bachelor Fine Arts degree, focusing on printmedia – a decision that would change the course of his life forever. The core of Cowin’s artistic practice was formed by printmaking. “He could explain the most obscure technical process in great detail regardless of how many centuries had passed since it was in vogue…His commitment to the art of printmaking was outstanding.”1
Cowin’s work has been shown throughout North America as well as Europe and Asia. His watercolours, lithographs and etchings were the subject of the book, Country Pleasures, published by Fifth House in 1984.2 Cowin is also remembered for his contribution to visual art in Saskatchewan through his teaching. After earning a BFA from Indiana University an MFA from the University of Illinois, Cowin went on to teach printmaking at the University of Regina for 36 years. He taught and mentored a great many students. His legacy is evident in the visibility of printmaking in Saskatchewan, as is apparent in the present set of shows.
The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum would like to thank the Saskatchewan Arts Board for their gracious loan of these works for this exhibit.
David Dyck, Associate Curator, 2016
1. Former student Brad Kullman interviewed in ”Remembering Jack Cowin” University of Regina, October 6, 2014.http://www.uregina.ca/external/communications/feature-stories/current/fs-10062014.html
2. ”Jack Cowin” Slate Fine Art Gallery, Accessed November 23, 2104. http://slategallery.ca/artists/jack-cowin/