Art finds itself in peculiar places, and artists even more so; pulling into the residential area nearby my former middle school – a region I regrettably beforehand regarded as lacking in creativity – I am reminded of that truth.
Rebecca Cowan’s new prints carry a quality of grace only reinforced by the drawings they surround.
Underneath a quiet house in a floral suburb lies a basement studio filled with rollers, plates, brushes, paints, papers, inks, carving tools, plexiglass, and one hefty iron printing press. The scene strikes me as reminiscent of group and educational studios I’ve visited, and Rebecca soon explains that she teaches art courses, and multiple other artists and students borrow the space when it’s available.
The wall facing the stairwell is adorned with rows of her new works, spectral faces in layers of forest; the title “Nymphs” fits precisely the sense of magic suggested in the trees. Soft-featured and translucent, the faces float as if suspended in the first moments of relaxation.
Sitting at a table, edges covered by tape securing a gridded plexiglass sheet to the surface, I listen as Rebecca happily explains her process; how she uses a variety of tools to etch spans of forest onto metal plates, printing multiple layers onto high quality, almost transparent Japanese paper (and driving to Toronto to buy it). The figure is drawn in coloured pencil on the opposite side from the print, the paper is adhered to a stained wooden panel, and sealed under clear acrylic. Although it is hard work, she jokes that it is far less stressful than her early forays with ink drawing.
Rebecca is unfalteringly passionate about her work and eager to share, teach, and explore art. Remaining animated and enthusiastic throughout the interview, she shows a deep love for art, and the magic beauty that art shares with the world, that shows most clearly in the most dedicated of artists.
Ascending the stairs from Rebecca Cowan’s basement studio and back into a regular, family home, one realizes that not only is art everywhere around you – it’s likely even under your feet.