Its been two years since my visit to Soul Of A Nation at the Tate Modern in London, the exhibition was a huge eye opener, exposing me to vast amounts of black artists, sculptures and photographers I was unaware of.
At the exhibition I gravitated towards Frank Bowlings use of colour, fiery red and orange hues to his calming use peach and purples. I was intrigued to find out more, I wanted to know his story not just his artistic journey but him as a person, knowing I would understand his art more with his life and art being intertwined.
Fast forward to present day, Tate Britain have put together an exhibition, displaying a large collection of his work, the exhibition covers nine rooms starting with his early work demonstrating his interest in social and political images. Frank Bowling was born in 1934 in Guyana (then known as British Guiana, South America) In 1953 his journey began after leaving his home town of New Amsterdam travelling to London. While here Bowling enrolled at the Royal College of Art from 1959 to 1962 studying along side art what would become a great class of artists including David Hockney and Derek Boshier.
‘Map paintings' - it was these pieces that captivated me at the Soul Of A Nation exhibition two years prior. These colossal pieces are created by using a variety of methods, Bowling worked on unstretched canvases placing them on the wall and floor. The canvases were also graced with images of his mother and children which were silkscreened on.
As I progressed I entered a room which felt like I was on foreign planets, Bowlings collection titled 'Cosmic', bought to life what we envision galactic skies and outer space landscapes to look like. During this period he experimented with ammonia and pearl essence creating a marble effect.
Other rooms saw works inspired by water and light specifically during his time while working in his studio in East London close to the River Thames. When bowling travelled back to his home town in 1989, he recognised the particular light of Guyana had been key to his painting. On display were pieces created in the 90's incorporating fabrics and materials into his paintings. Stitching canvas
At 85 he continues to commit his life to art spending every day in his studio, exploring Bowlings beginnings and artistic journey truly was enjoyable. As with all exhibitions there were pieces that spoke to me more than others, but it can be concluded that this truly was a brilliant showcase of Bowlings body of work, allowing the younger generation to learn more on such a prolific black artist.
You can see more images from the exhibition on the Instagram account @visuale_art