Katy Cowan, a Wisconsin-born artist based in Berlin, earned her BFA and MFA in Studio Art in Washington and California respectively. After her studies, she returned to Wisconsin to teach at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Mount Mary University. During her time in the West Coast, Cowan adopted an openness to her art practice, embracing accidents, blurring the boundaries of painting and sculpture, utilizing everyday objects, and responding to the constantly changing environments around her. Recently, Cowan brought her practice into the public realm, with an outdoor exhibition at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in 2017, in which she described her work as a “gentle intrusion” onto the already existing landscape.
Cowan’s work on view for Sculpture Milwaukee, suns fall, transforms common studio objects of 2’ x 4’ planks and rope into cast metal that are painted with oil and enamel, and drawn upon with graphite. The objects stand in an upright position that is reminiscent of various associations – sundials used by ancient civilizations to keep track of time, the ebb and flow of ocean tides, and the everyday objects of the sculpture’s construction. Cowan often works to push common objects into new terrains of associations for her viewers. With suns fall, rather than having her objects cast a shadow to tell time or replicate one moment in a fluxing landscape, Cowan composes and builds marks and colors deliberately on the surface to demonstrate how the passage of time transforms our perspective of the natural landscape and the way one interacts with the world around them.