Pretender : Carolyn Cowper

Pretender is a body of work that utilizes means of painting, drawing, three-dimensional design, and installation to investigate human and non-objective relationships, perception, and experience through means of abstraction, fluidity, and materiality. Pretender speaks to moments where sureness blurs with doubt, visually and conceptually.

In this body of work, artist Carolyn Cowper conveys the act of making, experimenting with, and piecing together work as a means of language – expressing both the familiar and the undetermined. She explores how things function independently in order to further investigate how they function and energize when interacting collectively.

The artist considers her artistic approach to be non-representational but familiar through visual elements, centering pleasure, joy, and vanity. Above all, Pretender, celebrates the act of making and experiencing art.

Pretender by Carolyn Cowper will be on view at Bells Gallery from May 3 to June 1, 2024. This is Cowper’s second solo show at Bells Gallery.

Carolyn Cowper is a multidisciplinary artist who creates emotive work in an effort to explore abstract, disparate ideas and conceptual relationships and further investigate possibilities and relationships regarding color, form, patterns, layers, and space. Cowper earned her BFA from The University of Alabama (2021) and is currently based in the Wiregrass Region of Alabama.

My mixed-media art practice utilizes means of painting, drawing, dimensional design, and installation as an approach to consider abstract, disparate ideas and conceptual relationships. My work investigates human and non-objective relationships with color, forms, layers, patterns, and space and the influence this has on perception and experience. I am exploring how things function independently but further considering how things function and energize when interacting in groups, allowing the whole to be viewed in collective terms.

I aim to convey the act of making, experimenting with, presenting, and piecing together art as a means of language. Through experimental means of communication, I intend to express the immanent (finding familiarity), and the undetermined (considering unfamiliarity), in a way that feels personal yet universal. I believe the fabric of my approach is non-representational, threading together familiar visual elements.
Experimental elements derive from taking up space, embracing play, and imagining possibilities.

My use of color is reactionary and emotionally motivated. Lines are blurred between visual elements that are often associated with a more digital means of design and a more fluid nature that is commonly associated with human tendencies, like the juxtaposition of hard edges and gestural marks. My creative process is often spent experimenting with and negotiating surfaces – putting down marks, rearranging, adjusting, layering – which becomes reflective in the process of presenting the work in a space. I have found this process, in its entirety, leads to a safe space for curiosity – guiding thoughtful dialogue, reaction, emotion, and experience.