Elijah Gowin.

“I have been working off of this dinner table for a few years now, but just recently moved back to a proper office upstairs where I used to be.   So technically this was an illegal use of this table.  We are trying to keep it clean and, well, for dining. I start off the week with a clean table but by the end of the week the piles of junk just grow and grow.  The foosball table is a recent christmas present that my girls and I have been having fun with.  I always said I would like to have a studio one day with a foosball table.”
Elijah Gowin uses photography to speak about ritual, landscape and memory.  His photographs are in the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Center for Creative Photography, among others.  In 2008, he received a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship.  Presently, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he directs photographic studies.  Gowin is represented by the Robert Mann Gallery, New York and Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City. For a printable cv click here.
FROM YOUR DESKS: What does water represent to you?  Rebirth?  Drowning?  Purity? Baptism?
ELIJAH GOWIN: Water is peculiar since we would die pretty quickly without it.  Yet we can drown in a inch of it.  It might be about the tenuous nature of living.
FYD: I’m afraid of certain heights. It’s not the fall itself, going down, but the anticipation of the fall. Thinking of your Of Falling and Floating series, I recall the image of a single man falling from the World Trade Center. If given a choice that day, I would have jumped as a pure leap of faith. You?
EG: I think sometimes we take a leap of faith out of a measured feeling, on our own terms. Other times its out of desperation with nothing to lose.  I think my falling series has an optimism to it that is more about balance than fear in and of itself.
FYD: As a Dayton native; how do you like Kansas City?  Do you see an emerging trend here, not the quality of life but a western sensibility or something about the landscape that entices people to spend time in the Midwest?
EG: Although born in Ohio, I am really an east coaster both north and south. Kansas City is great on many levels.  The easy pace seems to suit my sensibilities right now.  The BBQ and the Jazz reminds me of the south.  One element that draws people here is perhaps a sense of authenticity. Some things never went out of style here.

I think sometime we take a leap of faith out of a measured feeling, on our own terms.

FYD: You’ve been teaching since 2002; how did you segue into that profession?
EG:used to teach tennis as a teenager, and saw that a bit of humor and performance aided the process of learning. What I do now as a teacher is not too different.
FYD: What’s on the syllabus?  
EG: I have one project for my Photo 2 class that I call “muck it up” where students are supposed to combine mixed media with photographs.  I usually do a little demo to get them started and get out my power sander and start erasing the silver on a photograph. It disturbs some students, but others get excited by the possibilities.

(Photo 1: Elijah Gowin’s desk. Image 1: Into The Sun 32, 2009. Image 2: Gasp 1, 2005.Image 3: Fall 8, 2007. Image 4: Falling In Trees 1, 2006. Image 5: Floating 1, 2006)

1 Comment For “Elijah Gowin.”

  1. Where did you get the mini soccer game? Melissa would love one.

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