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Item Name: Mixed Media
Title: The Antediluvian Animals, Darwin and Beagle Series
Maker: Jack Cowin
Year: 1972
Country: Canadian
Materials: mixed media
Measurements: in frame: 71.8 cm x 92 cm; work: 56.2 cm x 76.2 cm
ID Number: PC2017.27

Extended Label Info: This abstract, hand-coloured drawing is an early work by master printmaker and draughtsman Jack Cowin, and is part of a series featured at Dunlop Art Gallery in 1973. The title invokes several great narratives in natural history: “Antediluvian” referring to a time in biblical stories before the great flood; and “Darwin and Beagle” referring to the Victorian scientist Charles Darwin who developed the theory of evolution. Darwin’s initial theories around the development of the earth and animal life were inspired by his five-year voyage around the world on the H.M.S. Beagle, during which he observed geology, collected fossils and zoological specimens and began to think about the age of the earth, and the development of species. Shortly after completing this series of drawings, Cowin moved away from abstraction to begin a set of closely observed studies on Western trout, which combined his love of fishing and printmaking, and led to his life’s work in realism. Jack Lee Cowin (1947-2014) Recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s preeminent printmakers, Jack Cowin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States, and began his studies in medical illustration at Indiana University, before transferring to fine arts. He earned his BFA (1969) with honours in printmaking at Indiana University, and his Master of Fine Arts (1971) in painting and printmaking at the University of Illinois. In 1971, Cowin accepted a teaching position in the department of Visual Art at the University of Regina, in printmaking and drawing. A beloved professor, Cowin taught for 36 years, championing technique, realism and the practical work of being an artist, and helped found a vibrant printmaking community in Regina and internationally. Retiring in 2007, Cowin travelled often between his home in Regina and family in Arlington Heights, Illinois, before his untimely death in 2014. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally, and is held in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), Indianapolis Museum of Modern Art, Chicago Art Institute, Hokaido Museum (Japan), and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.