Claire Cowie’s Unreliable Source is an installation of new sculpture, works-on-paper, and photographs rooted in folklore and personal mythology. Through surreal and dreamlike imagery, this exhibit addresses issues of family, community and culture, and how we make meaning and understand the world. Can we trust what we know or what we are told? Is there any veracity to memory, and what if our memory has disappeared? How can we navigate the waters of this life? Her investigation has produced a multifaceted installation, dense and rich with complex references, including family photographs, African and Native American sculpture, and folktales. Fingers beckon from the walls of the gallery. Delicate washes of ink, watercolor with elements of collage upon paper speak to an imaginative narrative. Masks question who we are supposed to be. Like any good folktale, there are moments of darkness and elements of hope in this body of work. What gives the work its seductive power is that the story is left open for the viewer to construct his or her own narrative.
Claire Cowie attended both the North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston-Salem, NC) and Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO). She received her MFA from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). Cowie’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including shows at the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA), Takeda Biennial (Oaxaca, Mexico), Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA), Frye Art Museum (Seattle, WA), Shenzhen Art Institute (Shenzhen, China), Art Gym at Marylhurst University (Lake Oswego, OR). Her work is included in the collections of the Henry Art Gallery, Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA), Safeco (Seattle, WA), and Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA), among others.