On Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling, Upright, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 74 x 53 inches (courtesy of Spa
Frank Bowling, Upright, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 74 x 53 inches (courtesy of Spanierman Modern)

Courtney J. Martin writes about the paintings of Frank Bowling on the occasion of the exhibition Frank Bowling: Paintings 1967 – 2012 at Spanierman Modern, New York, through April 20, 2013.

Martin writes that Bowling's "poured paintings were often a combination of action painting and compositional devices, like vertical lines, that were used by the group of abstract painters that Clement Greenberg supported. A work like Leanora’s Seas (1976) – with its ambiguous reference to a close friend, and the painting’s marine green – were part of the body of Bowling’s art that Greenberg encouraged. Here the poured section of the paint is confined to the center of the canvas, implying a rigidity within the otherwise uncontrolled action of pouring paint. On either side of the poured paint, two background colors form a solid, tonal band. They are tight, linear rectangles in the otherwise fluid-looking surface. After a break of several years, Bowling returned to pouring paint in 2012, creating a new body of poured paintings that includes, Upright (2012)."