Aaron Cowan, Getting Caught in Thought, 2020, video


the body, found objects, the mind, performance for video


Getting Caught in Thought is borne out of anxiety-riddled boredom, the kind that constantly ticks off the time, insatiably and audibly consuming the seconds. A countdown to nothing. It becomes pushed into the background like the constant beating of our hearts thumping in our heads. It’s informed by the compression and flattening of public and private, internal and external, the social and the personal. Isolation turns daydreams into fantasies; our eyes are only sensors that are susceptible to the brain’s tricky understandings. Finding the ghost in your machine is taking a look in the mind’s mirror, a question of “who’s really calling the shots,” and often find ourselves lost in our own landscapes, out of control in our dreams, fighting against our body’s autonomy. Where did these intrusive thoughts come from? They insist, persist, haunting our islands. 

We must find ways to collaborate with ourselves, past present and future. All of our representations are distortions of reality—and we’re all too reliant on organic lenses floating in jelly blobs. It will be uncomfortable, everything is awkward and foreign the first time. It takes practice, determination, and support. There’s nothing to lose but your own mirage.


Aaron Cowan (b. 1987, California), currently lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cowan mines his own history and shared experiences of growing up in the Southeast United States, wrestling with objects and materials from cultural identities of masculine power, their environments and accoutrements. By highlighting then accelerating the conventions governing these cultures to extremes, the work exposes their demands as inherently ridiculous, expanding cracks in social constructs with humor, vulnerability, and raw authenticity.

Hailing from Middle Tennessee, he earned his BFA in 3D Sculpture from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012. He was a founder and Director for the SWINE Gallery, Artist Residency Chattanooga, and curator for the Chattanooga Film Festival. Cowan’s community work in Chattanooga focused on creating a platform to support and highlight local artists, collaborate with existing organizations and businesses, and bring arts-oriented education to underserved populations of the city, receiving grants for this work from ArtsBuild, Footprint Foundation, and Bonnaroo Arts Fund. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and was recently awarded a grant from the Graduate & Professional Student Association for his continued research and studio practice.



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