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Frank Bowling’s Abstract Paintings: A Critique and Interview

Article relating to an individual, 1975
Published by: Art International
Year published: 1975
Number of pages: 4

image of Frank Bowling’s Abstract Paintings: A Critique and Interview

Jeanne Siegel was responsible for a feature in Art International The Art Spectrum, Volume XIX/5, May 15 1975, about Frank Bowling. The four page feature, extensively illustrated, was titled Frank Bowling’s Abstract Paintings: A Critque and Interview.

This was a hugely important text that benchmarkedBowlin’s practice in the middle part of the 1970s. Several years earlier, Bowling had had his very significant solo exhibition at the Whitney in New York. More recently, he had had an exhibition at Center for Inter-American Relations, 680 Park Avenue, New York, 28 November 1973 - 13 January 1974. Both of these exhibitions were referenced in this text, which consisted of an assessment of Bowling’s practice, followed by an interview between Siegel and Bowling.

The feature opened with “After Frank Bowling’s exhibition at the Whitney Museum at the end of 1971 he turned to abstraction. The Whitney show consisted of large scale, more or less monochromatic (or so they appeared) stained paintings which contained stencilled images of maps. Since then his paintings have been built on color alone. If the Whitney paintings suggested a nebulous view of the world the newer ones evoke a color atmosphere that has a more felt relationship to nature.”

Siegel goes on, several paragraphs later, to deliberate on “ways in which edges of colour meet to remain side by side or weave or bleed effortlessly into each other is quite remarkable and one of Bowling’s real achievements. This process has had a long and natural development - certainly a major contribution came from his map paintings of the later sixties where he used a stencilled shape to contrast with and dissolve into a large field. Not only did the stencil by its very nature contribute to flatness, but the irregularities of a continent’s contours (South America and Africa were particular favourites) offered interesting linear patterns and it is this concern that has been explored in a fuller and more purely plastic way in the abstract paintings.”

Related people

»  (Sir) Frank Bowling OBE, RA

Born, 1935 - 1937 (probably 1936) in British Guiana (now Guyana) Caribbean/S. America

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Whitney Museum of American Art

New York, United States of America