[Frameworks] Robert Cowan 1930-2011

From: john porter <super8porter_at_yahoo.ca>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 12:21:20 -0700 (PDT)

COWAN, Robert Bruce - April 8, 1930 - June 21, 2011
Bob, survived by his wife Jane Cowan and his daughter Christine Cowan, passed away suddenly in his home on June 21, 2011. Artist, Film Maker and Actor, he was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design. For information concerning a memorial reception, please contact his daughter at chriscowan at hotmail dot com
(Published in the Toronto Star, June 26, 2011)

Bob Cowan was a filmmaker, painter, composer, actor and writer.
In Toronto in the 1950s he began working on 16mm films together with Warren Collins, Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland. He then moved to New York City ahead of Snow and Wieland, where he was the projectionist at seminal public screenings by Jonas Mekas's New American Cinema Group, at the Film-makers' Co-operative's weekly screenings at the Charles Theatre, and at the Film-makers' Cinematheque.

He was also the projectionist at the initial long run of Andy Warhol's 3-hour, two-screen "Chelsea Girls" in Manhattan. But it was also a performance for Cowan as he was allowed by Warhol to make every screening different, using three projectors, varying the combinations of image and soundtrack, and using different lenses and filters.

In 1961 he began making his own films on 8mm, including "Rooftops", "Child", "Drumwaters", "Mythos" and "Solo". He also acted in many of the Kuchar Brothers' earliest 8mm and 16mm films, and it was he who introduced the Kuchars to the New American Cinema Group, by taking them to one of Ken Jacobs' screening parties. He maintained a life-long relationship with George Kuchar, regularly exchanging their latest videos.

He continued making films, on 16mm, and in the late 60s and early 70s he wrote a regular column on New York experimental film for the Canadian film magazine "Take One".

He returned to Toronto with his wife (filmmaker and painter Jane Elford), where they raised their daughter Christine, who also became a painter. He attended occasional screenings in Toronto of Kuchar films, re-uniting with them when they appeared in person.

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Received on Mon Jun 27 2011 - 12:21:27 CDT