Frank Bowling

Cheryl Sim on Bunch



Frank Bowling was born in British Guyana and has divided his time between London and New York for more than sixty years. Over this time, he has explored the possibilities and properties of painting and played a major role in debates in Great Britain around “Black Art,” a movement which demands artists’ right to adopt their modes of expression freely, independently of their identity, ethnic origin, or context. The work Bunch, shown here, belongs to his period of “Poured Paintings,” which he began in the mid-1970s. At that time, Bowling began to pour paint onto the canvas in order to play with the effects of the superimposition of colours and textures. As Sarah Nesbitt asserts in her catalogue essay, “Bunch is a work of material and technical accumulation that exemplifies the kind of expressive work that Bowling is most invested in, and that he has worked hard to defend in the face of pressures, still thriving, to produce so-called “Black art.”

About Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling’s paintings have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including a retrospective, Frank Bowling, at Tate Britain, London (2019); Mappa Mundi, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2017), which traveled to Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2018) and Sharjah Art Foundation (2018); Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip… Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973–8, Tate Britain, London (2012); Frank Bowling Works on Paper, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011); Serpentine Gallery, London (1986); Frank Bowling Retrospective, Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic Art Gallery (1978); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1971). His work has been included in countless group exhibitions, including Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London (2017), which traveled to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville (2018), Brooklyn Museum (2018), The Broad, Los Angeles (2019), de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2019), and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2020); Postwar-Art between the Pacific and Atlantic 1945–65, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2016); Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2014); and Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Brooklyn Museum (2014). He has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including an Order of the British Empire (2008); Membership to the Royal Academy of Art (2005); two Pollock Krasner Awards (1998, 1992); and two John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowships (1973, 1967).


Artist Website:

Video Resources:

Frank Bowling: From Figuration to Abstraction - Tate