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Inside the artist’s studio in Elephant and Castle, London, 2020
06 Oct 2020

Frank Bowling joins
Hauser & Wirth

His first exhibition with the gallery will open in London May 2021

Over the course of six decades, Frank Bowling OBE RA has relentlessly pursued a practice which boldly expands the possibilities and properties of paint. Bowling has been hailed as one of the foremost British artists of his generation. Ambitious in scale and scope, his dynamic engagement with the materiality of his chosen medium, and its evolution in the broad sweep of art history, has resulted in paintings of unparalleled originality and power.

‘For more than 60 years I have worked in my studio every day to see what I can do to push painting to its limits; to spill, pour, drip, slide and throw paint over canvas and see the extraordinary and surprising things that emerge,’ says Frank Bowling. ‘I am surrounded by my family, the importance of which I appreciate more keenly every day. Now, after decades of labor, I am humbled to find a home in Hauser & Wirth. Iwan and Manuela have welcomed me into their extended family of artists including, among them long-lost friends and people whose work I have long admired. It is deeply gratifying to be represented by a gallery with the global reach of Hauser & Wirth. I am heartened by their generous support of artistic communities and the shared feelings about protecting and promoting an artist’s legacy. I could not feel more confident that future generations will get to see and enjoy my paintings out in the world.’

‘For more than 60 years I have worked in my studio every day to see what I can do to push painting to its limits… Now, after decades of labor, I am humbled to find a home in Hauser & Wirth.’—Frank Bowling

BOWLING FRANK-8

Frank Bowling, Mirror, 1964-66 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Tate Collection. Presented by the artist, Rachel Scott and their four children; Benjamin and Sacha Bowling, Marcia and Iona Scott, 2013

BOWLING FRANK-7

Frank Bowling, Night Journey, c. 1968 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Gift of Maddy and Larry Mohr, 2011

‘Frank Bowling has redefined the course of abstract painting,’ says Iwan Wirth, ‘His astounding vision is expressed through a remarkable body of work which has continually broken new ground. Bowling joins a strong tradition of painting in our program, which spans his predecessor Arshile Gorky, his contemporary and friend Jack Whitten, and a subsequent generation of artists such as Mark Bradford and Rashid Johnson. To us, his work has never been more relevant, and we are honored that he has chosen to join the Hauser & Wirth family of artists. We’re looking forward to reaffirming his place in art history.’

‘Frank Bowling has redefined the course of abstract painting. His astounding vision is expressed through a remarkable body of work which has continually broken new ground.’—Iwan Wirth

Born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1934, Bowling arrived in London in 1953, graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1962. He later divided his time between the art scenes in London and New York, maintaining studios in both cities. This transatlantic orientation was to see his early engagement with expressive figuration and pop art shift to an immersion in abstraction which continues in his practice today. Visible in his work are the legacies of both the English landscape tradition and American abstraction from which Bowling forged a distinctive vocabulary, combining figurative, abstract and symbolic elements. As Bowling has explained, ‘I was always very conscious of scratching out and of new interpretations replacing the old; updating traditions.’

BOWLING FRANK-6

Frank Bowling, Iona Miriam’s Christmas Visit To & From Brighton, 2017 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020

BOWLING - Watermelon Bight

Frank Bowling, Watermelon Blight, 2020 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020

As an active instigator of dialogue, Bowling addressed the critical invisibility of Black artists. His series of writings for Arts Magazine (1969 – 1972) represent a significant contribution to intellectual debates on ‘Black Art’. Bowling has gained international recognition over the course of his career through over 100 solo museum exhibitions. The full force of his continual evolution as an artist was shown in recent years through the major retrospective exhibitions, ‘Mappa Mundi’ curated by Okwui Enwezor which toured from Haus der Kunst, Munich, in 2017, and ‘Frank Bowling’ at Tate Britain in 2019. As curator, Dr. Zoé Whitley writes, ‘Frank Bowling’s approach to painting is alternatively alchemical and cataclysmic, experimental and rigorous. Profoundly confounding the rules of art historical engagement, it also enduringly, emphatically pools the traditions of figuration and abstraction.’

Our first collaboration with Frank Bowling will be an exhibition at our gallery space in London in May 2021. Arnolfini, the International Centre for Contemporary Arts in Bristol (UK), will present a solo exhibition of Frank Bowling’s new and recent work from July – September 2021 as part of the institution’s 60th anniversary program. Hauser & Wirth’s representation will be in collaboration with Frank Bowling’s longstanding gallery Marc Selwyn Fine Art and dealer Emanuel Silberstein.