Voices of the Land - Heather & Edward Cowie

Paintings, drawings & sculpture.

Edward Cowie, Dusk Major. Drawing on paper

Voices of the Land 
Heather & Edward Cowie
11 October - 8 November 2014 

The autumn exhibition at Linton Court brings together the work of Heather and Edward Cowie. 
Both artists received a scientific training but ‘defected’ to the arts in early middle life. 
Heather’s work is designed to evoke and invoke natural forms  - wild places, strange platforms of observation and above all, a sense of the placement of things in the wild habitat.
Edward’s work is the work of a composer, but a composer who needs to see in order to hear. These drawings are a part of the process of what he calls drawing towards music. No other living composer works in this way and in a sense what you see are like those great mediaeval illustrations which so powerfully represent the senses as magical and perhaps divine.


Edward Cowie
Edward is internationally well-known as a composer of new music inspired by the dynamics of the natural world.. Originally trained as a physicist, he also studied painting at The Slade as an external student.
His music is played all over the world, and recorded on several leading record companies including Hyperion, Sony Brain Music, Signum Classics and NMC.
As a visual artist, he has also exhibited internationally especially in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
His visual works are in public and private collections worldwide. In particular, his ‘drawings towards music’ represent a unique ‘inter-sensual’ form of self-expression and it pleases him that contemporary responses to his music are also visual, and to the visual, vice versa!

Born in 1943, in the city of Birmingham, but the formative childhood and adolescent years were spent in the wild countryside of Suffolk and the Cotswolds. His undergraduate years were spent in the study of Physics, but also the violin and piano. During the latter part of his undergraduate years, Cowie also studied painting as an external student at the Slade in London. Throughout this period (1961-65), Cowie began to compose in earnest. In 1964, he commenced composition studies with Alexander Goehr in London. By the late 60’s, his music began to appear in national and international festivals. In 1967, he was awarded a Chopin Fellowship to study with Witold Lutoslawski in Poland. But it was also his friendship with Michael Tippett, that further encouraged him to embark on a musical career that spanned more than music alone.

 Edward's website   http://www.edward-cowie.com, states:

Unusual, perhaps unique in the artist’s web-site scene, this one contains both acoustic and visual outcomes.
"I need to draw in order to sift and filter ideas about music. During the 1970’s and through the to the late 1980’s, I pursued a parallel career as musician and visual artist. I painted and exhibited in oils and watercolours, but though connected with my music, they were not an integral part of the composition process itself. All that changed when I moved back to the UK after a period of 12 years of living and working in Australia.
Gradually, I developed a ‘new’ way of sketching - what I call drawing towards music. Everywhere I travel, I take sketchbooks with me. These contain pretty-well ‘straight’ drawings from nature; landscapes; seascapes; natural phenomena; wild creatures; the architecture and dynamics of the earth.

Heather Cowie 

With a first degree in Geology and Post graduate diploma in Computing from an Australian college, Heather Cowie spent many years living and working in isolated areas of Australia and South Africa (with a short stint in the sub-Antarctic). Her fascination with the way in which nature performs, whether in its multitudinous formal variation, or in its amazing repertoires of colour, sound and shaped-action, inspired her scientific investigations in the field, as well as providing an expansive experiential resource for her future arts practice.
She commenced exhibiting in the late 80’s, and returned to university in 1991 to study for a Masters of Creative Arts at James Cook University in Australia. This research degree provided her with a platform for detailed exploration of the relocation of natural sound and musical forms into visual correspondences. After moving to the United Kingdom in 1995 with her husband, Edward Cowie, she set up her studio near Dartmoor National Park and commenced exhibiting at galleries across England. Her art has always been a statement about, and manifestation of, her relationship to nature. Her artwork is in collections around the world.


Below a selection of images from Heather and Edward Cowie's exhibition.