Katy Cowan, gods on a bridge

Press Release

Miles McEnery Gallery is delighted to present gods on a bridge, an exhibition of new work by Katy Cowan, on view 16 March through 22 April 2023 at 515 West 22nd Street. Accompanying the exhibition is a fully illustrated digital publication featuring essays by Stephanie Cristello and Stephanie Bailey.

gods on a bridge is Katy Cowan’s first exhibition of metalworks since relocating her artistic practice from California to Berlin. The resulting body of work is a culmination of her current experiences, coupled with engrained references to the historical presence of sculpture in the city.

Each work starts in a foundry where the artist casts solid aluminum forms, which are then adorned with a variety of mediums and methods: acrylic and enamel paints, sprayed and brushed. Cowan elects to retain the fractured casting bars, signaling a parallel to the remnants of the Berlin Wall. As personally described, a guiding principle in her process is to “combine a multitude of experiences onto one surface and find a way to seize that depiction.”

This overarching aim is realized when Cowan draws from natural and urban environment alike—the blooming trees, reflecting ponds, and embracing bodies. The most prominent of these influences are the stone sculptures that appear throughout the city, acting as constant fixtures in the landscape, changing with age, taking on the textures of time and layers of graffiti. In her essay, Stephanie Cristello cements their influence by the figurative turn in Cowan’s compositions, expressing that they “have manifested as sculptural abstractions and fragmented, embodied landscapes.”

Cowan translates this amalgamation of inspiration to her aluminum surfaces, contouring reflections with cast rope, painted lines and flowing points. “Each work constitutes at once a fleshing out of figures as much as a mapping of movements—whether bodies in a park or city street or marks that dance across the capacious plane of representation itself,” writes Stephanie Bailey. “[gods on a bridge is] where line, ground, and figure collapse into a vortex of intuitive becoming.”

Katy Cowan (b. 1982, Lake Geneva, WI) received her Master of Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design; her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Puget Sound; and completed the 2003 summer semester at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland.

Cowan has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY (forthcoming); Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Document Space, Chicago, IL; Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI; Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, CA; and Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.

She has been included in recent group exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Meyer Riegger, Berlin, Germany; Los Angeles Valley College, Valley Glen, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND; Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL; The Green Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; and Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA.

Her work may be found in the collections of the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA; Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; U.S. Embassy, Maputo, Mozambique; North Dakota Museum of Art, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND; and the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Collection, Milwaukee, WI.

Cowan lives and works in Berlin, Germany.