Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ronan Bowes: An Expressive Remedy

Ronan Bowes in his studio in Manhattan.

Ronan Bowes was born in 1986 in Northern Ireland. And in many ways his work can be read as a response to that particular place and time and all that they entail and conjure.

The rough application of paint and jarring color combinations steer Bowes' paintings and sculptures towards urgent expression and unresolved feeling.

But to overlook the physical materials (and how they are used and reused) that make up the works is to miss a concept inherent in the making. 

Here paint, canvas and wood are fashioned, disassembled and put together again in service of a regeneration, or at the very least a hopeful, urgent utterance, that says, "I can build on this."

They Send their Love, 2017, oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

The Spot, 2017, oil on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

Lios, 2017, oil on panel, 60 x 45 cm

Site, 2017, oil on panel, 48 x 32 cm

She Loved That Yellow Vase, 2017, oil on canvas, 102 x 108 cm

From the Artist's Statement:

Making all my surfaces, I paint and draw predominantly with oil and acrylic paint on canvas, wood panel, aluminium panel and paper.

The catalyst to my painting practice was growing up in a socially and politically divided Northern Ireland. My childhood memories are marked by a post-conflict society; as youngsters we grew up listening to stories of what happened during the darker days. These stories, coming from our loved ones and our neighbours, were reinforced by Irish music and literature.

In 1998, our hometown Omagh, was bombed in the worst atrocity since the beginning of the conflict. This event transmitted us children into the darker days, and although we grew up in a post-conflict era, there was, and still are sporadic violent events unfortunately affecting our society.

Recently in my studio practice, I have been using the remnants of the painting process to develop sculptural paintings, reverberating the 2-dimesional work. I am interested in the life, death and rebirth of the materials of the painting process, connecting this to my past experiences and the current civil unrest in our world today.

Growing up in a society that has been affected by so many economic, social, sectarian and political issues I believe it is difficult not to have an expressive response to it; whether it be through words, music, dance or visual art.

For me, painting and art universally, possess the power to transcend the receiver from the turbulence of our world. I hope my work can provide this remedy in a world that seems to be perpetually spinning out of control.

Displacement, 2017, oil on canvas, 140 x 90 cm

Etymology of Ubanites, 2016 oil on canvas, 168 x 193 cm

The Grass is Always Greener, 2016, oil on canvas, 147 x 163 cm

Death of Pinnochio, 2016, oil on canvas, 90 x 80 cm

Boatman, 2016, oil on canvas, 95 x 85 cm


Ronan Bowes received his Postgraduate in Art Education from Northumbria University (Newcastle, UK) and his B.F.A 1st Class Honors (Valedictorian) from John Moores Art School (Liverpool, UK).
He has exhibited his work most recently at El Triunfo (New York, USA), Standard Projects (Wisconsin, USA) and Aqua Art Fair (Miami, USA).
Bowes has curated exhibitions at Aside Bside Gallery (London, UK), White Elephant Arts (Melbourne, AU) and John Moores University (Liverpool, UK). His work has been featured in chief curator Rebecca Wilson's collections through Saatchi Art.
"Cool it" 2016 was a  showcase winner of ArtSlant's 2016 6th Annual Showcase and he was commissioned to create work for the Liverpool Biennial (UK) 2008.
You can find his work in the National Collection of "Your Paintings" by the BBC (England, UK) . Bowes has been an artist in resident with White Elephant Arts (Melbourne, AU) and St. Joesph Swan School (Northumbria, UK).

For more information on Ronan Bowes, his work and  upcoming projects visit his website.

The Jungle, 2015, oil, spray paint and collage on canvas, 210 x 170 cm

Tatlin Tree House, 2017, wood with oil, 60 x 14 x 40 cm

Vessel, 2017, (front), Oak wood, plaster, oil and spray paint, 70 x 15 x 5 cm

Vessel, 2017, (back), Oak wood, plaster, oil and spray paint, 70 x 15 x 5 cm

The Border, 2017, found wood with oil plaster and spray paint, aprox. 100 x 20 x 20 cm

Anastylosis, 2017, acrylic, assorted wood, plastic and oil, approx. 40 x 50 x 15 cm

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