Hales Gallery in Frieze Art Fair New York, 5 - 9 May 2016
Hales Gallery is proud to announce a rare and unique presentation at Frieze New York Spotlight 2016 of three monumental early works by British painter, Frank Bowling. Pushing the boundaries of abstraction since the 1960s, this will be the first time Bowling’s pioneering practice has been examined at the fair.
The spectacular paintings Vitacress (1981), Made in Maclise (1982) and Odysseus’s Footfalls (1982) were created upon Bowling’s return to London in 1979 following ten years in New York. Over the previous decade, encouraged and championed by the famous critic and theorist Clement Greenberg, Bowling had been experimenting with different theories and techniques of abstract painting. Influenced by and contributing to major developments in the New York art scene, he was positioned at the vanguard of ‘postpainterly’ abstraction. Now, on his return to London, working in his West London studio at 19 Maclise House – a tiny space only 12 x 14 feet, located just behind the Tate Gallery – Bowling’s painting was exposed to a new range of influences. The spectacular use of natural light and landscape in European painting, particularly the work of the great English masters Gainsborough, Turner and Constable, was invoked in the creation of this series of expressive cosmic visions.
In the cramped conditions of Maclise House, Bowling began to develop new painting techniques and methods that deliberately intervened and acted on the canvas in order to expand his experiments in colour, process and form. A master of improvisation, he controlled the flow of paint’s movement to create layered streams, pools and diffusions of colour, interrupting currents with splashes and drips, and scattering chemicals to mottle and vein the pigmented surface. These ambitious, complex manipulations lend the works in this presentation a painterly and enigmatic expressiveness, the variations of light and shadow hinting at the presence of satellites, constellations or galaxies amidst the mysterious shapes and patterns. Meanwhile, the paintings’ titles, ranging from mythical allusions to more prosaic references, add another layer to their complexity.
Painted in the period leading to Bowling’s seminal exhibition at London’s Serpentine Gallery in 1986, this trio of paintings will be shown together in the United States for the first time at Frieze New York. They demonstrate his virtuosity and significance in both American and British art history as an abstract painter, constantly experimenting and innovating to produce a range of aesthetic effects and experiences.
Randall's Island Park,
Public days 5-8 May 2016
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