In the front gallery the walls have been repainted with an appropriately titled, ‘banana dream 1’; common latex paint infused with a vetiver essential oil, implicating the paint to perform in a way beyond its standard capabilities. A conceal that simultaneously reveals, an interest in nearly all of the materials used in Cowan’s work. This true affect of the essential oil supports a new group of ‘lure paintings’. Composed of monochrome fabrics often used to create stage curtains, that are then pierced with an assortment of fishing lures; store bought and hand painted ‘spoon’ lures and hand tied ‘flies’.

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They stand in as a compounded and commodified mark, revealing their repercussive tendencies and surfacing the concept of editing specific to painting and extending beyond. The lures share in their disguise, deception is their mode of communication, their way of sharing, offering something ideal to consume but not process, flavor but no nutrients.

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Their hyper-real tendency creates a playful resistance that outmodes their real predecessor of baitfish and insects, giving way to the imitation and simulacra at play that demonstrates a theoretical basis upon which painting can be understood as a ubiquitous form of art and medium of exchange. The work develops a dialectical relationship between being an observer and a contributor to the tradition of painting, celebrating and deflating it’s prized ideals.

Paul Cowan
4 April - 3 May 2014
at Jonathan Viner, London

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