& SHALAMAR SUNDAY
Artist's Reception: Monday, March 11 - 5:00 - 8:00 PM
These works are living symbols of my struggle to perceive the Transcendent. The paintings themselves are symbols containing symbols pointing toward this effort. I look to create fields of action or archetypal landscapes in which this struggle takes place. This sacred space is the sphere in which sacrifice, redemption, suffering, ecstasy, obliteration and, ultimately, resurrection occur and effect transformations in our being. This symbolic space is inside us and outside us, it is cosmic and microcosmic; it is space itself.
I began my paintings by taking found materials (twigs, leaves, string, etc.) and attaching them to the canvas as textural support to evoke an organic, naturally evolving, and perhaps chaotic environment. Cuts and slashes etched into the surface arise out of the suffering brought about by what I can only call the Ordeal of Transformation. The resulting composition, though brought about by a random and intuitive process, evolves out of a desire to give structure (i.e., intellectual rigor, Cartesian Duality, Euclidean rationality) to that experience, to codify it. We are pattern seekers and it is partly this drive that allows us to perceive radiance. It is a necessary though, perhaps, vain attempt to give meaning to an experience that is itself only and has no inherent meaning.
Ultimately, this is what non-representational painting is about for me: it has no inherent meaning. As in life, it is we who give meaning to it. What is important, for me, is the experience one has in relationship to the work, not necessarily from what the work arises or to what it might refer. These are works of aesthetic arrangement. They are meant to be experienced by the wholeness of our being, not merely interpreted by the mind.
Joseph Campbell wrote, “…the only true service of the proper artist today will have to be to individuals: re-attuning them to forgotten archetypes…which have been lost.” Though the concept of archetypal themes is intellectual, the creation of the work itself is purely instinctual. The idea of instinct in fusion with intellect interests me. Synthesizing these two approaches, I hope to hold the viewer in some sort of aesthetic arrest and, in turn, hope the viewer experiences a deeper connection to that mystery we call being.
Christopher Cousins is an American artist and actor who has been acting mainly in television since 1986. He might be best known for playing conman Cain Rogan on the soap opera One Life to Live in the early and mid-1990's and a brief reprise in 2008. Recently, he played Ted Beneke in twelve episodes of the AMC series Breaking Bad.
Notable films roles include David Williams in Untraceable
(2006), the villain Daniel in Wicker Park
(2004) and Bill in The Grudge 2
Born: New York City, 1960
Education: BFA, Boston University, 1983
* 2012 Solo Exhibition, Claremont Forum Gallery, Claremont CA
* 2009 Solo Installation/ U.S. Embassy. Hanoi, Vietnam
* 2009 Reveries, Foster/White Gallery, Seattle WA
* 2007 Christopher Cousins: Recent Works, Lowe Gallery, Atlanta GA
* 2006 NonObjectivity, Pharmaka Gallery, LA CA
* 2006 Ancestors: In Search of a Source, Lowe Gallery, Santa Monica CA
* 2005 Venice to Venice, V and A Gallery, Venice Italy
* 2005 Blue, Pharmaka Gallery, LA CA
* 2005 Solo Exhibition, SolArt Gallery, Santa Ana CA
* 2005 Outside the Box/ Pharmaka, Pharmaka Gallery, LA CA
- Received LA Weekly “Pick of the Week”
* 2005 Inside the Box/ Pharmaka, Bert Green Fine Art Gallery, LA CA
* 2004 Abstractions, Glass Garage Gallery, W Hollywood CA
* 2004 Solo Show, “Sacred Space”, SOHO Gallery, Studio City CA
* 2004 Inaugural Group Show, Lurie Fine Art Gallery, Boca Raton FL
* 2003 Contemporary Modernists, Glass Garage Gallery, W Hollywood CA
* 2002 Abstract Notions, SOHO Gallery, Studio City CA
* 2002 Simply Red, The dA Gallery, Pomona CA
* 2001 From France, SOHO Gallery, Studio City CA
* 2000 Group Exhibition, The dA Gallery, Pomona CA
Though born in New York City, Christopher Cousins was raised in Oklahoma where he was greatly influenced by the various artistic expressions of American Indian cultures. As a teenager he traveled through Europe and saw immediately the connections between the religious yearning in European art and the spiritual themes in Native American expression.
After graduating with a BFA from Boston University Cousins moved to NYC and quickly became disillusioned:
“I wasn’t interested in social content, criticism or in pop imagery, I didn’t have a clever marketable angle nor did I want to come up with one. For me, there was no reason to paint unless it was to address core existential issues. Maybe that’s an excuse, maybe I was just afraid, but I stopped painting.” He didn’t pick up a brush for over ten years.
Cousins has worked in various jobs over the years: as a bartender in NYC, a horse breaker and construction worker in Colorado; he was a part-owner of a bookstore in Mexico for a while. In the late 80’s he returned to NYC and has achieved some success as an actor.
Though he kept up with his drawing, the need to paint gnawed at him for years. Finally, something awakened in him and he found himself painting again. He let go of the need to understand why or what he was painting, he worked with no intention of showing; he just needed to work with paint. As Cousins describes it, “ I felt like I was working something out with each new piece…. Even now I never know exactly where a new work will take me. There is no map, no guide, only instinct and, one hopes, intellect to lead me.”
Christopher Cousins started showing his work in 2000 in the Los Angeles area. In 2004, he joined Pharmaka a group of like-minded L.A. based artists who “…believe in the power of painting as a visual and emotional language …to share our truths with the viewer through the very visceral act of painting.” In 2005, he participated in his first international exhibition in Venice, Italy. Cousins works with Bert Green Fine Art in LA, The Lowe Gallery in Atlanta GA, with the Foster/White Gallery in Seattle WA.
Christopher now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sequoia, and his son, Sean.