Emily Cowan

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Emily Cowan is an architectural painter based in what is colonially known as “Vancouver, BC”. A lifelong artist, she has explored many different mediums and currently works primarily in acrylic gouache paintings.

Cowan’s current body of work features paintings of houses, buildings, interiors and domestic scenes. She is fascinated by the concept of "home", and the spaces women create for themselves and
their families. Women creating homes has traditionally been looked at as an unimportant skill, and Cowan is interested in elevating everyday women's spaces - and contributions - through the medium of fine art. Her paintings often depict the beauty in everyday life, highlighting the importance of the home as a safe space and creative outlet for women.

She is also interested in the house as a modern-day status symbol; as affordable housing continues to disappear, Cowan is fascinated by the houses
surrounding her and the fantasy of who might live in them. Once something most people could expect to
achieve someday, home-ownership is now out of reach for the average person. The houses she paints
are a love-letter of sorts; to the domiciles and lifestyles once assumed but now impossible.

Houses, buildings and rooms - the spaces and places that contain the heart of our lived experiences, continue to fascinate her as she grapples with the opposing concepts of home-as-safety and home-as-status. As the housing and rental markets soar, making home a source of stress rather than peace for many, she hopes to create works that explore this dichotomy and bring stillness to the mental storms that pull her in different directions around this topic. What is a home? What makes a home? Who gets to have one?

Cowan’s paintings feature bold colours, a combination of crisp hard-edge lines and organic forms, and meticulous detail work. She aims to create an immersive experience for the viewer, inviting them to step into these urban and domestic spaces and consider their own relationships to the spaces and places that shape our lives.

$750.00 CAD

Acrylic gouache on canvas.


Urban Gardens. 2023. 35”x35”.
Emily Cowan.
Acrylic gouache on canvas.

This piece is about the human drive to make the places we are living into Homes - in this case, by adding flowers and plants to the various balconies of a luxury apartment building. The apartments are new builds, and as such they are small, with small balconies as the only outdoor space. Even living in a box, humans add meaning and life to their homes via food plants and ornamental vegetation; it’s these living details that create oases of rest and permanence in an impersonal and cramped environment.

Emily Cowan