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Andrea Kowch – The Wonder of What Was

Andrea Kowch – The Wonder of What Was

Growing up in Michigan, close to expansive rural areas and farmlands, Andrea Kowch has always been intrigued by abandoned farms and what she terms, “the wonder of what was.” This wonder, in the hands of a talented artist, is what she mines for her evocative and surrealistic paintings.

“The characters in my paintings were also created from these musings,” says Kowch. “The real and unreal, history and the present, opposing emotions, endings and beginnings, nature’s seasons and cycles — all of it is present at the core of my work.”

And this all comes out when Kowch explores these mysterious places.

“It’s my past and my present magically fused together,” says Kowch, “which creates a vision of mine that is my paintings. It’s life for me on its deepest level.”

Kowch’s vision of middle America envisions the past histories of these places while also creating a new reality that involves metaphor and symbolism through layers of mood and meaning.

“In juxtaposing the human form with animals and the desolation of a bygone uninhabited American landscape, I provided glimpses into rooms,” says Kowch. “the ‘rooms’ are the oftentimes chaotic places we possess internally. The rural, Midwestern landscape of my home state serves as backdrop for the stage of human emotions and the animals present are vehicles for expressing the feelings and underlying tensions suppressed behind the human mask.”

In this way, the narratives present in each painting are meant to link together to engage the viewer and pull them in.

“The paintings are metaphorical, each containing their own unique story and symbolism, while still remaining open and vague to invite viewers ‘in,'” says Kowch. It’s all about the dialogue and having viewers uncover the various layers of mood and meaning while attributing their own experiences to the work.”

Through this engagement with the viewers, however, Kowch also is drawing upon her past and memories. All these disparate threads of meaning conspire to create layers of meaning to be unfolded by the viewer.

“The paintings, ultimately, are born from pieces and fragments of personal memories,” says Kowch, “merged with my fascination on nature and its phenomena. The environments reflect the inner emotions of the characters, as do the animals that are present. They both mirror and contradict the characters’ inner psychological dramas and longings.”

Many of these paintings are large — some 7 feet long — also a new challenge for Kowch.

“The unique challenge of creating imagery on a much larger scale allows me to truly test and push my boundaries and really engage viewers,” says Kowch. “The large works allow viewers to participate in the whole scene when they stand before it, giving them the ability to get ‘lost’ in my world, so to speak, as they interact with the characters and environments.”

Kowch also sees the objects in her paintings as her “past” that are “speaking to me through my family history that I infuse with new life.”

“I have also recently come to believe that my characters, on a subconscious level, are influenced by my late grandmothers who had a strong presence in my early life,” says Kowch. “They were strong, independent people who braved hardships and had unique personalities.”


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20" x 48" / 50.8 x 121.9cm
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19.6" x 7.75" / 49.8 x 19.7cm
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