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Claire, Claire Everywhere!


Stagings: Claire Cowie and the Monsen Photography Collection

June 17 through September 28


Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure

July 12 through September 21


Seattle artist Claire Cowie has received critical praise in the Northwest for her strange, dreamlike works. Characterized by spare brush strokes and dizzying shifts in scale, her creations are rendered in a wide range of media. With printmaking, sculpture, painting, drawing and photography, Cowie gives life to a vast menagerie of creatures. Penguins and kittens, ballerinas and hunters, gnomes and flying ladies, as well as several breeds of human-animal hybrids, are all inhabitants of Cowie's personal landscape. Drawn from various sources, including Japanese woodblock prints, celebrity culture, mass-produced novelty items, and the artist's dreams and memories, these images constitute a fantastic world with its own internal logic.

This summer, Henry audiences will have the opportunity to view Cowie's work from several perspectives. Stagings: Claire Cowie and the Monsen Photography Collection showcases the artist's own photogravures along with selections from the collection that inspired them. Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure, comprising a selection of Cowie's work to date and an artist residency gives viewers a unique opportunity to see Cowie's unusual working process as she creates new work in full view of Henry visitors.


Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure

July 12 through September 28


Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure features an "open studio" artist residency by Cowie, who will work in a gallery in full view of the public for a period of three weeks in July. This allows Henry visitors a unique opportunity to glimpse the artist's unusual working methods. During her residency, Cowie will create new work that will be exhibited beside selections of her art from the past five years. The manifold nature of Flying Ladies of Leisure, comprising Cowie's artist residency; new sculptures, drawings, and paintings; and their juxtaposition with her past work, provides a valuable lens through which to examine her practice. Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure is the most recent in a series of exhibitions demonstrating the Henry's commitment to the best art and artists of the Northwest, providing artist residencies, commissioning new artwork, facilitating access to the Henry's collections and curatorial expertise, and offering other opportunities for the creation of new work by artists of the region. Shawn Brixey, Chimera Obscura, commissioned especially for Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explore Human Genomics (2002, now traveling); Phantom Empire: NSC-68 (2002); elizabeth jameson: splendorform (2002); and Victoria Haven, Support Structure, C-14, commissioned especially for Out of Site: Fictional Architectural Spaces (2002).


Stagings: Claire Cowie and the Monsen Photography Collection

June 17 through September 28


In 2000, Cowie spent an intensive period working directly with the Henry's Monsen Photography Collection. Trained as a printmaker (UW MFA 1999), the artist was especially taken with the Collection's photogravures, which she encountered while assisting the Henry Collections staff on the traveling exhibition The Photographic Impulse: Highlights from the Joseph and Elaine Monsen Photography Collection (July 12 through November 10, 2002). Photogravures are created by a continuous-tone etching process, combining traits of both photography and printmaking.

Like photography, they can be absolutely faithful to information on the original negative; like printmaking, and unlike other photo-imaging processes, they provide the opportunity to manipulate the final image by hand, creating new expressive possibilities. Stagings features Cowie's own photogravures juxtaposed with selections from the Monsen Collection that gave impetus to them.


About the Artist

Claire Cowie's work had been featured in a number of group exhibitions prior to her solo debut at James Harris Gallery in July 2002. The exhibition at James Harris Gallery led to invitations to exhibit at the Henry, the Bellevue Art Museum, and the Center on Contemporary Art, as well as a solo exhibition at the cherrydelosreyes Gallery, Los Angeles, reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. Her work is included in both public and private collections, including those of Microsoft Corporation, the University of Missouri Art Museum, and art critic Dave Hickey, who was so impressed with Cowie's work that he purchased several prints while she was still in graduate school.

Stagings: Claire Cowie and the Monsen Collection Photogravures and Claire Cowie: Flying Ladies of Leisure are curated by Associate Curator Robin Held, with special thanks to Curator of Collections Judy Sourakli and the Henry Collections staff. The Short Stories series is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts; Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, City of Seattle; the Henry Art Gallery's Contemporary Art Fund; and the Kayla Skinner Fund.


In Conjunction with the exhibition:

Artist Lecture: Flying Ladies of Leisure, Claire Cowie, exhibiting artist, Thursday, July 24, 7:00 pm, Free, Henry Auditorium.

Seattle artist Claire Cowie talks about her past and recent work, which constitutes a fantastic world with its own internal logic. Her talk is followed by a conversation with Associate Curator Robin Held in the galleries exploring her artistic practice in the current exhibitions.


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