Interview By Deliah Flores
Photography by Marsin Mogielski
American Magical Realist Andrea Kowch’s hauntingly beautiful paintings evoke American landscapes of a bygone era as well as depictions of the human condition that transcend time. In this interview, the highly disciplined artist briefly stepped away from her painting to give insight into how her curiosity about life and the natural world inform her prolific works, carving a new and exciting path for the genre.
Andrea Kowch, The Cape, Acrylic on Canvas, 60 in. × 84 in.
What have you noticed about the appeal your paintings have on the public?
I am extremely proud to witness the very profound, emotional chord my work strikes with the public, in manners that encourage the embracement and acknowledgement of all the deeper, hidden, emotional undercurrents that reside within each of us. Through my paintings, I hope and believe that viewers continue to recognize and honor the intricacies and duality of the human condition, encouraging them to merge and transcend the various emotional and psychological boundaries we tend to draw. As a reflective person who is deeply sensitive, observant, and always tuning into an awareness of energies present around me, my paintings metaphorically present all that I see, think, and feel about any given object, landscape, and aspect of being human. I work hard, and am very grateful that collectors have been extremely loyal and diligent in their support, having already purchased, sight unseen, everything else I can paint though August 2020.
For such a young artist, your artwork displays a wisdom and depth of knowledge that extends well beyond your years. Can you explain this?
I started painting very young, and do not “live the life,” as some do, preferring instead to do my work, extremely seriously. My paintings are the primary focus of my life. I think about composition and color constantly, and have always been a fast and responsive learner, observer, and an “old soul” when it comes to how I approach and live my life. I tend to always search for the higher meaning present in all experiences, and with that comes a profound and rapidly expanding awareness that informs new levels of consciousness that undoubtedly get transferred to and through my work. I value my alone time, observing the world, and being with my thoughts, which are endlessly curious about life and the natural world around me.
Have your paintings ever evolved in a way that surprised you?
When I began expanding upon my formal, technical skills as a painter, I worked to evolve my painting style towards being slightly looser than I was naturally used to. Now, my artworks seem to have circled around and gotten tighter, taking much longer in my need to advance my technique and focus, and have directly reflected the life changes we all go through over time. I, myself, also find that I evolve in ways that surprise me throughout the course of working on my paintings. A few of them were created during particularly pivotal shifts in my personal life, truly taking on elements of my own “chapters.” While, visually, my goal continues to be one of creating paintings that feel like pages of a larger story, with each one serving as an extension of the last, I find it fascinating, though not surprising, that my paintings are indeed a reflection of how my life has evolved over time, and how experiences helped shaped me into the person I am. It would be very difficult for me as an artist to separate the influence that my life experience has had upon my creativity.
Andrea Kowch, The Feast, Acrylic on Canvas, 60 in. × 84 in.
Although your artwork reflects your Midwestern roots, you are represented by a Hamptons gallery and spend time painting here as well. What does the Hamptons offer you?
I am innately attracted to areas, objects, and structures that are steeped in American history. The centuries-old history that permeates the Hamptons appeals to that sensibility, and the feelings it evokes ultimately enhances and complements what I do in various ways. The Hamptons also offers me a distinctive platform from which to share my “world” and roots with an audience that otherwise would not experience it firsthand. Having been involved with RJD Gallery since they opened their doors in late 2009/early 2010, New York and Long Island has become a second home to me in the process. As I continue to return and spend time here, I am able to notice and take in more and more of the natural beauty, charm, and history of the area as a whole. I’ve found that the region provides an incredible natural setting and draws some of the most creative and broad-minded art collectors from all over the world. I was very fortunate early on to have found a gallery that understands my artwork and potential, and honors the same values of respect, honesty, integrity, and, above all my passion for what I do. Since our partnership began in 2010, RJD Gallery has consistently and successfully placed my artworks with a diverse group of very serious collectors, on a global basis, while generously donating their own proceeds to the support of a myriad of charities. They have cultivated an environment wherein I can paint what I want to paint, and make a living through the expression of my artistic passion.
What are you most excited about right now as an artist?
I’m thrilled to begin planning and developing my next body of artwork for 2020 and 2021. I am currently experiencing and nurturing a burst of new ideas that are giving way to dozens of new paintings. The thought of beginning them is both exhilarating and overwhelming. The interesting part about it all, also, is that I feel more conscious of the sources from which these new ideas are sparking. Usually, I do not entirely know where some of my visual musings stem from, but lately I have a clearer impression of “why” I’m thinking of the ideas I am, as I witness and reflect upon the transitions and events taking place in my own life.
2385 Main Street, Bridgehampton