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international painting annual 2 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Benjamin Cowen
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Painting Assistant, Jeff Koons

pages 71-73

detail image


I look and gather inspiration from everything around me. The paintings are hoarded compartments of landscape and thoughts about life and community. The paintings tell stories with layered meaning. Stories about growth and death, people being together, people‚s interaction with nature, and a spiritual world being revealed through these actions.

I make the paintings from imagination applying the views of my Bloomington Indiana neighborhood to compositional structures borrowed from religious painting and modern abstraction.

I interact with the world using my eyes and my hands. I use accumulated scraps available in my studio like leftovers in the fridge. Surfaces in the paintings build into visual and tactile reconstructions of nature. Or, forms flatten to emphasize the landscapes similarities to domestic patterns. Often, I build sculptural arrangements after making paintings as a way to better understand my spacial and material intent. In each work, I play and discover comparing materials and application methods to reinvent the familiar and infuse it with meaning.


born: 1985, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Indiana Univerity Hope School of Fine Arts Bloomington, MFA, 2011
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA, 2006

selected awards/honors

Indiana University, Full Tuition Remission and Teaching Stipend, 2009-11

selected publications

Labletter; Volume 15, 2013
International Painting Annual 2, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati OH, 2012
"Art Emerged", The Washtenaw Voice, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor MI, 2012

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Neighbors, Gillock Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2012
Emerging Artists: Ben Cowan and Reed Esslinger, Gallery One, Ann Arbor, MI, 2012
Branching Out, Ann Arbor Women‚s City Club, Ann Arbor MI, 2011
Neighborhood View, SOFA Gallery, Bloomington, IN, 2011

selected group shows

National Wet Paint Exhibition, MFA Jury Show, Zhou B. Art Center, Chicago IL, 2012
Altered Ground, University of Michigan Work Gallery, Ann Arbor MI, 2011
Master Pieces, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, 2011
Visual Overload, Fuller Gallery, Bloomington, IN, 2010


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