Adger W. Cowans
Artist. Photographer

“Art Does Not Represent The Visual ,But Makes Visual”
–Paul Klee

Adger Cowans, a fine arts photographer and abstract expressionist painter has experimented with a myriad of mediums over his artistic career. Renowned in the world of photography and fine art, his works have been shown by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Museum of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum of Harlem, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard Fine Art Museum, Detroit Art Institue, James E. Lewis Museum and numerous  other art institutions.

Adger attended Ohio University where he received a BFA in photography. He furthered his education at the School of Motion Picture Arts and School of Visual Arts in New York.  While serving in the United States Navy, he worked as a photographer before moving to New York, where he later worked with Life magazine photographer, Gordon Parks and fashion photographer, Henri Clarke.

Adger Cowans was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera in recognition of a Distinguished Career at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art.  He is the recipient of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Scholars Award, Wayne State University.

At his first one man show at the Heliography Gallery in New York, Jacob Deschin of the New York Times described Cowans’ work as “Boldly inventive and experimental…and the artist is a craftsman to his fingertips.”

Major exhibitions have included: “Committed to the Image” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, “A History of African American Photographers”

“For me, the artist’s responsibility is to keep the temple (body, mind, and spirit) clear, clean and open by being aware and by keeping watch over what enters it mentally and physically.  When it is so tuned, the creative impulses can be fully received and reflected to the highest degree, where line, form, and color define a space that the viewer can feel with the heart, explore with the eyes, and contemplate with the mind.”
– Adger W. Cowans

“A photograph is supposed to be a fairly accurate representative of what the eye sees. Yet we do an injustice to our own perceptions if we are only concerned with the usual facts of life.”
– Adger W. Cowans

“When I first saw these water images of Adger Cowans’, it occurred to me that an artist might be inspired by certain phenomena that may be artistically meaningless to everyone else.  In haystacks, Monet found something to illuminate his observations of the play of light and color during varying hours of the day.  So too, in water, still water, running water, even frozen water, Cowans invites us to see a universe in microcosm…Whatever affinities directed our poet photographer to immerse himself in the waters of life and art, as with all good artists, he had dealt convincingly with these mysteries of creation.
The success of these photographs need not be explained, rather they are a cause for celebration.  After all, the power of art is irresistible.”
– Romare Bearden

Artist interview:


Art Does Not Represent The Visual, But Makes Visual
–Paul Klee

Contact The Artist