Marie Hines Cowan
New York University (NYU)
My paintings are narratives, sometimes just phrases of a larger whole, sometimes longer paragraphs, but almost always part of a story. I have studied the evolution of myths as they were shared in Greek oral tradition and later passed down through literature and art, and so the stories I most often paint originate in Greek mythology. This may seem removed from today’s world and limiting but mythology is something that evolves and grows with its recountor. It takes on aspect of the culture it has joined and adds its own ideologies to that culture. Mythology is a melting pot, like New York. My paintings reflect this. I see the iconoclastic personifications of ideas, philosophies and the characters of Greek mythology in the everyday people of New York regardless of race, religion, status or age.
I work with live models selected specifically for their real-life association with the psychological aspects of the myths they embody. My subjects often look directly at the viewer. They confront the observer and demand a response.
In my paintings, colors are pushed just a bit more than what the average eye sees. The palette is intense and aggressive, like the subject matter. I am more interested in the overwhelming intensities of nature than its subtleties, never mixing more than three colors on the palette, to arrive at what I put on the canvas. I combine a painterly manner of laying on color with a bit of stylization.