Author(s): Elena Crippa
Born in British Guiana in 1936, Frank Bowling arrived in Britain in his late teens, going on to study painting at the the Royal College of Art in the same cohort as David Hockney and Derek Boshier. Since he started painting in the late 1950s, Bowling has pursued a relentless exploration of the properties and possibilities of paint, experimenting with stitching, staining, pouring and dripping. Often ambitious in scale, and usually described in terms of its colourful and luminous quality, and the energetic application or accrual of paint, Bowling's work combines figuration, abstract elements, popular and autobiographical references, and demonstrates his interest in social and political imagery. Accompanying what will be the first solo exhibition internationally to address Bowling's entire oeuvre, this publication will explore an extraordinary career spanning over 60 years. Beginning with his early figurative work created in the early 1960s, it will trace the development of Bowling's practice right up to his most recent work, illustrating the artist's interest in surface textures; the tension between geometry and organic forms; and between expansive fields of colour and the accrual of thickly built impasto - as well as his use of unusual mediums, such as metallic pigments, fluorescent chalk and acrylic gels. Bowling's contribution to modern art and his wide-reaching influence will be further illuminated by a combination of insightul art-historical texts and contemporary artistic voices. Featuring iconic series - such as the `Map Paintings', the `Poured Paintings' and `Thames Paintings' - alongside rarely seen works, this book is a feast of colour and texture that highlights the quality and breadth of Bowling's long and distinguished career.