Bruno David Gallery is showing “Good Will Combines”, an exhibition of new paintings by Cindy Tower. Cindy Tower’s “Combine” paintings break divisions between the materials of artmaking and ordinary things like old dresses; between painting and sculpture; and between the fields of art and daily life. Their themes traditionally have had an environmental perspective on consumption, intimacy, obsolescence, loss, and transcendence as they interplay with the natural world. They are landscape-based, often biographical, with elements in the paintings standing in for herself, family members, or moments or places in her life.
Tower’s paintings are an overwhelming celebration of materials and process. They hope to provide the viewer with a visceral, physical experience that not only engages but also actually engulfs the viewer in the self-contained environment of each work of art. Tower’s views are optimistic in that they create beauty despite being formed out of the rejected detritus of modern consumer society. Tower provides social commentary on collective wastefulness and over-abundance. She gathers materials from landfills, charity shop discards, and from the destruction wrought by natural disasters.
Tower says “Throughout my career I have used recycled materials--from found video footage to dismantling and using every single part of a broken-down truck, including the gas. (“Pirate” Cindy, 1998). “Combine painting”, is a term coined in 1950s by Robert Rauschenberg consisting of three-dimensional objects integrated into his paintings.
Born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Cindy Tower received her B.F.A. from Cornell and was a forerunner of the Williamsburg art scene in the early eighties. She went on to obtain her MFA in 1988 from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied under Eleanor Antin and Allan Kaprow. She taught at Washington University St. Louis, Hamilton College, The New York Studio School in New York and was a visiting artist at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Cindy currently splits her time between maintaining a studio in Branford, CT and in San Antonio, TX.
Tower has exhibited nationally and has been the focus of numerous one-person exhibitions including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Mykonos Biennale in Greece. Tower is a social activist who also uses her artistic skill in support of racial, gender and housing equality, animal rights and awareness of climate issues. A lifelong teacher, she has created protest installations and many happenings with community involvement throughout the country.