Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip..
..Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings
When I visited the Tate Britain a few weeks back, there was an exhibition of one of the most notable abstract expressionist artists; Frank Bowling. Sure I could’ve combined it with my other post about the Tate, but I felt that a true great in the field of lyrical abstraction deserved a whole post to himself, plus he seemed to have painted a lot in those five years..
Ultimately Bowling’s style is very aesthetically pleasing, you couldn’t look at the work and ‘dislike’ it, after finding his niche, it was the colour and material structure of paint which became (and still remains) his main concern.
He began by pouring acrylic paint directly onto the canvas and angling it so that the paint would slowly flow to the bottom. Once realising the promise of this technique, he then built a specially made tilting platform that would enable him to pour paint from a height of up to 2 metres. This way allowed the paint to flow faster in more energetic movements.
He explored layering paint, usually in different colours. So that after initially flowing down in straight lines the different colours would mesh together, resulting in a swirly configuration at the bottom of the canvas.
He first exhibited in New York back in 1973, and has spent the last thirty years developing his practise; adding other materials and more paint. His work pretty much speaks for itself; elegantly simple and honest with no underlying themes; just true aesthetics.