The large scale paintings of Luke McCowan reveal an interplay with depth, space and layering within the paintings themselves. As McCowan uses his fascination for collage to create balanced, challenging compositions, the artist includes several personal elements that generate a texture and depth in an immaterial sense. Between the blurred photographs and geometrically aligned compositions of rocks, glass, or crystals, McCowan reveals an interaction between different approaches to his medium of choice, bringing together the worlds of photography and painting through the depth of focus in his layered work.
While most of the photographs that appear in his works come from his archive of family photo’s, the stones in his paintings provide a geological sense of memory and place, as they are natural to the area in Wisconsin, USA, where McCowan grew up. By blurring the photographs underneath, their memories are not just held in place by the stones, but also border a more abstracted sense of memory and passing of time that goes beyond that of either artist or spectator. McCowan’s fascination for this manipulation of imagery in painting, combined with the more naturalistic textures and nostalgic subject matter, gives way to multilayered and immersive compositions.
Text by Menno Vuister, 2021