“Before painting abstracts, my background was in three-dimensional work such as stonewall building, woodworking, interior design, architecture, and carpentry, and my paintings were representational landscapes and portraits. When I started painting abstracts, the challenges and appeal of my previous 3D work were able to be incorporated onto the 2D canvas. What interests me and gives me pleasure is the energy created by interesting and unexpected juxtapositions of colors and shapes. Colors talk to each other, influence each other, spark each other or mute each other. They do this by being next to each other or simply by being on the same canvas. Each time a new color is added or taken away from the canvas, all the color relationships within the canvas change. Interior decorators know this when they add relatively small, but very important bits of color in the scatter of brightly colored pillows on a sofa.
The important conflicts I work with are spontaneity and discipline, boldness and subtlety. Incorporation of both extremes gives depth and tension. I like to be spontaneous and then go back with a critical eye often repeating that cycle many times in an attempt to produce a loose, complex, but fresh and integrated whole. The challenge is to combine both strength and subtlety so that both hold their own without detracting from each other. Transitions between shapes and colors are like spaces between stones in a wall. These negative shapes, lines or lack of them suggest how the shapes interrelate. They influence how your eye travels around the canvas defining the nature of the energy and movement in a composition. I paint fast, but I repaint the canvas many times. I like the result of building up layers and I often use the previous painting(s) by leaving pieces of them or scratching through to them. Bright colors make me happy and give me energy. I hope my paintings may do the same for those who view my work.”
Tory Cowles has a BA from Bennington College in Bennigton, Vermont. She lives in Potomac, MD, and currently maintains a studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, Tory has shown her work in numerous exhibitions throughout the Washington, DC, metro area. More of her worked can be seen at www.torycowles.com.