Now widely recognised as ‘first among equals' in the field of post-1960 abstraction, Bowling has for the past half century devoted himself to a tireless investigation into the nature and possibilities of painting, constantly exploring new principles and processes. It is this dynamic spirit which this exhibition celebrates, providing audiences an opportunity to explore the rich vocabulary of techniques and ideas which Bowling has developed over the years and which is so fluently expressed in his contemporary practice.
Cutting, stitching, pouring, staining, sticking, stencilling, screen-printing: for Bowling, painting has always been an intensely physical as well as aesthetic process. A rigorous understanding of and careful attention to colour and geometry is combined with the spontaneity of the painter in his studio, which actively informs the shape and composition of his canvases: see, for example, the rectangular shape of Bowling’s working table or the circles of his paint buckets - all recurring on the surfaces of the works in the gallery.
And yet, as their poetic titles and rich palettes suggest, there is also a powerfully imaginative vein running through Bowling’s works, alternately vivid and ethereal, inviting the viewer to create their own associations. In Bowling’s own words, spoken in reference to his own process but equally relevant to the experience of looking at any one of his paintings: ‘making it new is what it’s about’.