Works of Art

Henry Collection

Claire Cowie (U.S. b. 1975)
The Dragon 2002
Urethane resin, paper, PVC, gesso, watercolor, MSA, and varnish
10 1/8 x 9 x 6 in.
Henry Art Gallery, gift of Safeco Insurance, a member of the Liberty Mutual Group, and the Washington Art Consortium, 2010.46

Claire Cowie (U.S. b. 1975)
Eagle Spoke Woe 2009
Dr. Ph. Martin's Black Star India ink on watercolor paper
23 x 30 in. sheet size
Henry Art Gallery, purchased with funds from John and Shari Behnke, Michael and Cathy Casteel, and Kim Richter, 2010.10

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Panorama Drawing (detail) 2003
Watercolor and gouache on paper
51 5/8 x 113 1/2 in. image and sheet size
Henry Art Gallery, purchase with funds provided by Rebecca and Alexander Stewart, 2004.30

The artist’s first solo museum exhibition, Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure, opened at the Henry Art Gallery in June 2003. This exhibition included works from the preceding five years and was accompanied by an open studio artist residency, where Cowie utilized the exhibition gallery as a space to create new work. The resulting sculptures and paintings were then exhibited alongside earlier works.

Panorama Drawing (2003) is one of several works Cowie made on-site at the Henry. This large-scale watercolor and gouache painting is populated by clusters of loosely painted figures based on several small human and animal sculptures also made during the open studio. The drawn characters appear to float in an indeterminate space stretched across the horizontal composition. Such ethereality sharply contrasts with the heavier material quality of the vertical watercolor trails that lead the eye away from the figures, down and out of the composition.

 

Other

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Orange Smoke 2005
Spit bite, aquatint, a la poupee etching on paper
6 3/4 x 5 1/2 Paper: 11 x 8 1/2 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
The Green Tree 2008
Watercolor, sumi color, and ink on paper
11 1/4 x 12 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Four Boats 2004
Collage: woodcut, monotype, watercolor
18 x 22 1/4 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Rhinoceroscape 2006
Polystyrene, urethane resin, gesso, watercolor, ink
39 x 27 x 72 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Cranes and Containers 2004
Collage: woodcut, monotype
15 x 18 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Meerkatscape 2006
Polystyrene, urethane resin, gesso, watercolor, ink
75 x 24 x 33 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Three Floating Villages 2006
Sumi color and watercolor on paper
30 x 22 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Meerkat Tree 2006
Watercolor on paper
30 x 22 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
The Visit 2005
Watercolor on paper
13 x 17 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Homunculus (queen) 2007
Foam, Aqua Resin, urethane resin, gesso, watercolor, sumi color, ink
53 x 35 x 35 in.
Photo: Bill Bachhuber
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Villagers Passing Through II (detail) 2005
Collage, watercolor, woodcut
31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
The Ruins (Tortoise) 2006
Watercolor on paper
30 x 22 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Villager on Horse 2004
Urethane resin, polyester resin, found object, gesso, watercolor
25 x 16 x 25 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
The Peacock 2008
Watercolor, sumi color, ink on paper
48 x 68 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
Self-Portrait with Armless Dog 2003
Collage, watercolor, and monotype on paper
36 x 18 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery

Claire Cowie (U.S., b. 1975 )
The Parasite 2007
Watercolor, sumi color and ink on paper
55 x 52 in.
Photo: Claire Cowie
Copyright credit: Courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Leach Gallery

The Artist

From painting to sculpture to photogravure, the work produced by Seattle-based artist Claire Cowie conjures up a bizarre menagerie, replete with composite creatures and exotic locales. Haunting disembodied figures populate her landscapes; they appear at once otherworldly and familiar as they beckon the eye and the imagination. Her collages, watercolors, and prints recall Chinese and Japanese landscape painting traditions. Using a minimum of strokes she achieves deep spaces, producing dreamlike landscapes that recede into the distance.

Biography

Cowie trained as a printmaker but continues to expand her technical reach into sculpture and other forms of two-dimensional work. Whether she cuts up and recycles her discarded prints and drawings to create new compositions and assemblages, or fuses resin molds of found doll heads on top of one another, Cowie takes apart castaway objects in order to reassemble them into diverse creations endowed with new meaning. These works may evoke side-show curiosities but her efforts to revive the rejected are rewarded in the subtle balance she strikes between the grotesque, the tender, and the humane.