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On Scale: Corydon Cowansage Paintings

Grass #64, 2017, 84 x 70 inches, acrylic on canvas. 
Photo credit: Tyler Kufs
Grass #64, 2017, 84 x 70 inches, acrylic on canvas. Photo credit: Tyler Kufs

When I look at Corydon Cowansage’s paintings two things come to mind immediately: scale & value. Although these are simple observations, the work’s reach does not fall short of complex and innovative. The manner in which Corydon chooses her paint format, crops her subjects, and economically applies her paint makes her paintings about so much more than scale and value.

I think a lot about perception in painting– what it means to dedicate your time to your subject and your process and what that says about you as an artist. Some artists paint very descriptively, some need more ambiguity. What I admire about Corydon’s work is its openness. In many ways, her work is very META– it’s small, it’s large, it’s simple and it’s direct. It has a way to operate very simply but also in other dimensions all at once.

Installation view of Dwell at MILLER in NYC, 2016. Photo credit: Kirsten Kilponen. Courtesy MILLER, New York


I can’t always tell my own size when I look at her paintings. They have a way of challenging me in my own physical space without telling me where I am. They infer my importance without painting a figure and prompt me to question where I am in relation to the painting.

Sometimes I can find myself, and sometimes I am forced to recalibrate my eyes while her use of value and repetition make her rhythmic paintings both poetic and optical illusions all at once.

Grass #80, 2018, 20 x 18 inches, acrylic on canvas

These are successful paintings and the best part is I can’t predict her next painting. I am positive she will confidently assert her paint chops, but also her wit and sense of humor. Are we placed in a field of grass? Or are we in a vortex of color? I can’t know, but I enjoy trying to navigate them at any rate.

Corydon Cowansage is a painter living in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from RISD. In 2016, she had a successful solo show at Miller Contemporary in the Lower East Side. Corydon is a fantastic painter, but also innovative in her approach to the art world with her successful new online project, Drawer – that features works on paper from a strong roster of artists in an online flat-file sale format.

I encourage you to follow Corydon along and her new project, Drawer. She is a relevant, smart, brave and an exciting artist working today.