Eileen Cowin, "Untitled", 1981, from the series "Family Docudrama", C-print, 16x20".

Eileen Cowin, “Untitled”, 1981, from the series “Family Docudrama”, C-print, 16×20″.

Eileen Cowin

Cowin’s work explores the depth of control that a photographer may have over her photograph. She begins each of her photographs with a concept that she turns into a sketch, then focusing on the details and devises the wardrobe, color scheme, lighting, and gestures for her actors to bring the photograph to life in a way that tends to be more suggestive rather than representational. Her photographs and videos tell open-ended stories, forcing the viewer to resolve the conflicts she depicts with little guidance. “Untitled (Woman in Red Shirt)” is one of several photographs in Cowin’s series “Family Docudrama (1980-1983)”. The key players in the series are Cowinís twin sister, her husband, her stepchildren, and herself. Each photograph shows a realistically staged scene depicting an emotionally charged situation. The themes are wide ranging, but all of them focus within the overarching theme of ìfamilyî. The series as a whole serves as a critique of the contemporary American family, but individually each photograph portrays one of the many challenges that women face as they try to fulfill their roles in a domestic and professional situation. Like the other photographs in this series, this piece is suggestive of a narrative that raises more questions than it answers. The viewer is then left to draw his or her own conclusions.

Eileen Cowin (Santa Monica, CA) has had many solo shows at various museums and galleries including Posie Kviat Gallery (Hudson, NY), Fringe Exhibitions (Pasadena, CA), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL), and The Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena, CA) among others. She has also been featured in group shows at The Palm Springs Art Museum (Palm Springs, CA), The J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), The Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego, CA), and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts (Tokyo, Japan) among others. Her work has been featured in various publications such as, The New York Times, Arts, Art on Paper, Artforum, Art in America, the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, LA Style, Artpress, and others. Eileen has received awards from the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Berkeley Video & Film Festival, USA Film Festival, the MTA Metro Art and the Durfee Foundation among others. She was an artist-in-residence in 2009 at Pasadena City College. In 2000 a monograph entitled Spaid, Sue, Still (and all) Eileen Cowin 1971-1998 was published. She has also lectured at over ninety locations, including universities and colleges, in the United States since 1971.