Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stories in the Abstract

“I’ve had this constant interest in mythology and storytelling
and its presence through time.”
Natasha Bowdoin

For the Houston based artist Natasha Bowdoin reading is an integral part of her practice, from being the well spring for her inspiration to her solace when the gods of creativity turn their backs.

As Bowdoin told the Angela Fraleigh blog “When I’m feeling confused about the thinking behind new work I usually gravitate towards reading. Reading from my pool of source material usually lets me refocus and find the crux of the work. I try to constantly replenish the books I read – outside the realm of visual art – from poetry, mythology, fiction, naturalist accounts, etc. That keeps things fresh, visually and conceptually, in the studio.

For Bowdoin is an intuitive artist, her beginnings don’t know their ends.

As she told …might be good’s Wendy Vogel “There is no plan for the final image. Usually what happens is that I first have to accrue a pile of raw drawing material. Once I have this material I can start to investigate how to organize, layer and assemble it. I think of it like gardening. I have to grow the material that I’m going to use first and then I can harvest it to use in the actual making. Sometimes drawings that are intended to be discrete pictorial images get cut up and integrated into something else. I find I can’t get anywhere compelling if I plan out the process ahead of time. Things have to be allowed to accumulate and fall away in an unpredictable fashion for the work to get interesting.”

From this process Bowdoin builds her abstract collaged drawings about which the Monya Rowe Gallery has said “That play of pattern and disorder are at the core of Bowdoin’s work. Each layer collapses into chaos only to return to some kind of natural order. In Roberto Bolaño’s 1996 short novel, Distant Star, Bruno Schulz’s writing is described by the protagonist: “I was reading, but the words were passing by like incomprehensible beetles, busy in an enigmatic world”.

Bowdoin’s current exhibition Animal Print is on show at Florida’s Monya Rowe Gallery until the 24th of July.

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