Installation view, ‘FRANK AT 90,’ Hauser & Wirth London, 2024. © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London 2024. Photo: Damian Griffiths


13 February 2024

A special presentation of two monumental works at Hauser & Wirth London to celebrate the 90th birthday of Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA

Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA celebrates his 90th birthday with a presentation at Hauser & Wirth London of two monumental works, dating from 1973 and 2023 – 2024, on view through Saturday 16 March 2024.

Bowling painted ‘Hello Rosa New York’ at his SoHo studio on 535 Broadway, naming it after American art historian Barbara Rose, whose 1965 essay ‘ABC ART’ in Art in America, defined one of the strands of minimalism.

Leading up to 1971, color became the primary focus of Bowling’s paintings, transitioning towards a form of pure color-field painting influenced by abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. By 1972, he abandoned stencils and maps, showcased in his earlier large-scale landscape-format paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art. ‘Hello Rosa New York’ stands as one of the first paintings created during this pivotal period, capturing Bowling’s evolving approach to color and form.

In his paintings of the early 1970s, the artist recognised long lines that his studio floorboards in New York imprinted on his canvases as they were left to dry. This ‘found geometry’ gave Bowling an organically emerging structure to work within. In ‘Hello Rosa New York,’ the horizontal landscape format and the clear dividing lines of the marks give a sense of paint in constant flow or liquid motion.

Frank Bowling, Hello Rosa New York, 1973 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London 2024. Photo: Damian Griffiths

In response to this historical work, Bowling has produced one of his most ambitious and largest works to date, ‘Thanks to Water’ (2023-24). Water has been a consistent reference and inspiration throughout the artist’s practice, having studios located near both the East River in New York and the Thames in London.

‘Thanks to Water’ began in December 2023 as a bundle of canvas which was subsequently soaked with water and paint. Bowling then decided to unfold the work across the studio floor and apply further washes of diluted pink and gold paints from poured buckets and moved around with a mop like a performance piece, a new development in the artist’s process. Pulled up onto the studio wall, further pours are applied as well as a gold glitter mixture, adding to the shimmering effect of the work.

Each work showcases Bowling’s enduring explorations of light, color and geometry. His restless reinvention of the painted plane and ambitious scale continues to break new ground, forever driven by a fascination with the vast and radiant possibilities of his medium.

Frank Bowling, Thanks to Water, 2023-24 © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London 2024. Photo: Damian Griffiths

Accompanying the presentation, a dedicated learning program will delve into the key themes of Frank Bowling’s work. A talk and discussion aimed at students and featuring Susi Sahmland from the Frank Bowling Studio and Professor Dorothy Price, Curator of ‘Entangled Pasts, 1768-Now’ will take place on February 23. On 16 March, students and young people interested in painting, art and design have the opportunity to take part in an interactive afternoon exploring Frank Bowling’s presentation, facilitated by Susi Sahmland, artist Rohan Ayinde and Beatriz Lobo Britto, curator at iniva.

Find additional learning resources to explore the presentation’s key themes and suggested topics for discussion here.

Portrait of Frank Bowling © Frank Bowling. All Rights Reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London 2024. Photo: Sacha Bowling

Bowling’s works will also be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts as part of the exhibition ‘Entangled Pasts, 1768–now’ through 28 April, as well as in the South London Gallery, where his painting ‘Skid’ will be on view for one day only on Sunday 18 February, accompanied by a talk about the work by Ben Bowling, Frank Bowling’s son and manager of the Frank Bowling Studio and head of research.

On view by the gallery front desk is a limited edition print ‘Understanding Frank’ from CIRCA.ART. Proceeds from the sale of which will fund CIRCA PIPELINE—a new print initiative from CIRCA.ART to generate £500,000 in art supplies for 100 state primary schools across the UK. Discover more and register interest ahead of the public release on Monday 26 February here.

‘FRANK AT 90’ is on view at Hauser & Wirth London through Saturday 16 March.