Realism Art on View > Andrea Kowch: Mysterious Realms
Museum of Art – DeLand DeLand, Florida
Through April 9, 2023
Florida’s Museum of Art – DeLand is now showing the solo exhibition “Andrea Kowch: Mysterious Realms,” which features more than 60 paintings and works on paper. This marks a rare opportunity to see Kowch’s art in depth because most of her works are sold even before she completes them. The show has been organized by curator Tariq Gibran and its catalogue’s lead essay penned by one of the artist’s most enthusiastic collectors, Steven Alan Bennett.
Born in Detroit, Kowch earned her B.F.A. summa cum laude at that city’s College for Creative Studies, where she has since taught as an adjunct professor. She has won renown for meticulously composed and painted scenes of figures — usually young women — in familiar yet dreamlike settings that suggest a story is unfolding, without telling us exactly what or how. This allegorical ambiguity allows viewers to make up their own narratives, or more likely just let Kowch’s uncanny, vaguely melancholy mood cast its spell.
Inspired by historical sources as diverse as Northern Renaissance painting and Midwestern regionalism, Kowch sets her puzzles in landscapes that suggest — without specifying — the countryside and vernacular architecture of her native Michigan. Some observers have associated her unique take on magical realism with “Prairie Gothic” (think Grant Wood), and indeed her scenes do reflect a mix of the banality and enchantment those two words evoke. There is more to her art than that, so seeing over 60 examples up close will surely intrigue the museum’s visitors this season.
In addition, several of Kowch’s works will be seen in Georgia this September as part of the group exhibition “Big Stories” at Columbus State University’s Bo Bartlett Center.