Harry Cooper, Head of Modern and Contemporary Artist the National Gallery of Art chose Tory Cowles as Torpedo Factory Artist of the Year in 2011.
Cooper’s remarks at the solo show Living Large by Tory Cowles
“I was just asked what attracted me to this work. I love painting and I’ve looked at a lot of paintings and I did my dissertation on Mondrian, who, you might think is just the total opposite of this kind of work, but, in fact, in the history of modern painting, there are so many things that are constant among great paintings and that is a sense of how to handle the paint, a deep sense of structure that you have in this work.
And I think it’s pretty rare to find a painter who is very sophisticated and knows about the history of modern art, has that in her brush and yet is not self-conscious, and is not too stylish, and is not second guessing, thinking about what would look good at every minute, and still able to take risks and be spontaneous. I know that’s important to you. And that really comes out in the work, so there’s a lot to see in every one of these paintings.
Yes, they’re beautiful. They’re attractive. There’s a sort of eye candy element. But you have to get past that because there is really exciting handling of paint, use of different materials and techniques and just a lot of joy in the act of painting. So it gives me encouragement that painting is still going on in that good old way.”
Harry Cooper, Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA
July 14, 2011