Frank Bowling

  • Born 1936 in Bartica, British Guyana
Frank Bowling migrated to London in 1950. In 1959 he received a scholarship to the Royal College of Art and graduated three years later with the silver medal in painting (David Hockney [b. 1937] won the gold). Associated at the time with Pop art, Bowling mounted his first solo show—Image in Revolt—at London’s Grabowski Gallery in 1962. A travel scholarship then enabled him to visit South America and the Caribbean. Bowling quickly abandoned figurative, postcolonial art for abstraction. In 1966 he moved to New York where, bolstered by the African-American community, he developed his “Map Paintings” (combining Color Field techniques and stenciled images of South America, Australia and Africa). Bowling received Guggenheim fellowships in 1967 and 1973 and was a contributing editor to Arts Magazine from 1969 to 1972. In 1971, he received a solo show at the Whitney Museum and befriended critic Clement Greenberg (1909–1994), who encouraged his abstract direction. Bowling’s later series include his “Poured Paintings” and reliefs built up with Styrofoam. Bowling splits his time between studios in London and New York. In 2005 Bowling became the first black artist to be elected a member of England's Royal Academy of Art.

Artworks by Frank Bowling in the exhibition