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The BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works exhibition series is designed to showcase the best new work b eing made in Chicago\, regardless of the status of the artist’s career—whet her emerging or established\, mid-career or undergoing reinvention. BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Paul Cowan captures artist Paul Cowan at the beginning of his professional life. A rec ent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Illinois Chicago\, Cow an has in a short period distinguished himself as a penetrating observer of and participant in the long tradition of painting\, questioning its cheris hed ideals and putting forth provocative proposals for its future.\n

In th is exhibition\, Cowan debuts new work\, drawing from several recent bodies of painting\, sculpture\, and installation that revolve around mark making\ , composition\, and artistic authorship. These concerns are at the heart of debates about painting\, and Cowan has found inventive ways to address the m. One recent series of paintings\, for instance\, relies upon supports mad e from store-bought fabrics—some single-hued\, others patterned—on which th e artist affixes fishing lures. The positioning of the lures\, as well as t he color relationships between these objects and the fabrics they are attac hed to\, constitutes the primary painterly activity. Seeming at first like just another riff on the readymade\, each lure is carefully selected by Cow an\, subtly and minutely contributing to a finely tuned composition that mi ght at first appear nonchalant.

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Even more recently\, the artist has enga ged commercial sign painters working in Chicago in the creation of abstract paintings. Focusing on the decorative flourishes that these painters use t o advertise products at local liquor or grocery stores\, Cowan reveals how painterly marks and colors attract the eye in the everyday realm. Stripped of content\, these marks—squiggles\, starbursts\, emphatic underlines—reinv igorate gesture with urgency and purpose.

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This exhibi tion is organized by Michael Darling\, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at th e Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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DTEND:20130305 DTSTAMP:20140919T120947 DTSTART:20121106 GEO:41.897166;-87.621288 LOCATION:Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)\,220 East Chicago Ave \nChicago\, IL 60611 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: PAUL COWAN\, Paul Cowan UID:240101 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20121106T200000 DTSTAMP:20140919T120947 DTSTART:20121106T100000 GEO:41.897166;-87.621288 LOCATION:Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)\,220 East Chicago Ave \nChicago\, IL 60611 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: PAUL COWAN\, Paul Cowan UID:245510 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR