Ann Dowker's life is punctuated by journeys. Visits to Morocco and the Himalayas of northern India during the 90s opened a door to a world far removed from London's South Bank that had been the subject of her practice throughout the 80s. Next came the Nile valley around Luxor in Egypt, where she discovered an environment that so impressed her with its natural splendour and human activity that the place and its people have now become the major subject of her work.
Visits can last for months. She has a house and a studio there and returns regularly, living with and within the community. When she is there she works ferociously. Making trips around the lush wetlands along the river and the arid uplands, looking at particular views, making drawings with charcoal, pastel and watercolour; collecting a mountain of information that is the start of the process for the paintings that follow.
Back in her London studio, and shunning a simple reliance on reproducing the appearance of things, the imaginative weight of the subject is revealed on large canvases that probe away at the deeper significance of 'her Egypt' alongside concerns that are central to the practice and language of painting and have been for hundreds of years.
She paints Egypt like a beguiling dream without allusion to the Pharonic past or the picturesque; an artist assimilated into a country and its culture and responding to its grandeur, the continually changing appearance and a sense of continuity. The implication is clear, for Ann Dowker painting particular landscapes involves both an engagement with their 'ethos' and an understanding of her own artistic heritage.
Ann Dowker was born in Sheffield, and studied at Bath Academy, Corsham and at the Central School of Art and Design. She has exhibited extensively since 1990 and has work in private and public collections worldwide including the Government Art Collection, Manchester City Art Gallery, Australian Embassy and New College Collection, Cambridge. She lives and works in London and teaches drawing at the Prince's Drawing School and at the National Gallery.
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