Visual Arts Program
 


Saturday, March 3, 2007 — Saturday, April 7, 2007

Paula Jean Cowan

Bit

Paula Jean Cowan - <em>Bit</em>
Paula Jean Cowan - <em>Bit</em>


In a series of comedic "bits," Paula Jean Cowan explores the notion of the corpulent body and how to transform its perception from one of vilified liability into asserted, empowered strength.

Rotoscoped from video source material, Cowan's animated vignettes all features a large female character ensnared in a series of situations that depict a variety of failures, foibles, and absurdities. Sampling donuts. Devouring a small, hand-sized person. Salaciously playing with cupcakes. Performing a shell game. Kneading a pillow. Kicking a can. Dancing unselfconscously. Caught in a bear trap.

Cowan's works are deceptive in their simplicity. The performative origins of the pieces lend the works a naturalness, despite their reduction into simplified line drawings that provide only the most economical reference of figure and ground.

The jittering lines that comprise the animations play into the nervous energy and underlying pathos of the bits, though Cowan is not merely enacting herself as the butt of her own jokes. A buoyant unconcern is often readily apparent and we recognize a character that, despite her heavyweight aspect, is ultimately more self-aware (and content) than self-conscious.

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Some publications related to this event:
PAULA JEAN COWAN: BIT - 2007
March, 2007 - 2007

 
 
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Laylah Ali
Paintings and Drawings


Laylah Ali's work explores power dynamics and interpersonal conflict through compositions that position culturally, racially and sexually ambiguous figures in precarious, loaded, and unexpectedly humorous situations. Ali uses concise—even minimal—imagery that is specific in rendering and intent. While there are narratives in Ali's work, they are stories whose open spaces often give them the atmosphere of fables.