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Hales Gallery

London, United Kingdom
Official website: Hales Gallery

The Map Paintings 1967-1971 was Frank Bowling’s third solo exhibition at Hales Gallery, London. The artist’s map paintings had been growing in visibility over the past several years, though as referenced in this exhibition’s title, they had been executed several decades earlier, for exhibitions such as  Bowling’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971.

When Rasheed Araeen included a reproduction of Night Journey, one of Bowling’s map paintings, towards the front of The Other Story catalogue, it was perhaps the first time a number of people were exposed to a fascinating body of work by Bowling. Scholarship by Kobena Mercer, Mel Gooding, and others subsequently served to embellish an understanding and appreciation of Bowling’s map paintings. (One of the most familiar works from this series, was included in the Afro Modern exhibition. The painting in question was Who’s Afraid of Barney Newman, oil paint on canvas, 2364 x 1295 x 27 mm, a painting from the Tate Collection, presented in 2006 by Rachel Scott.)

Within these paintings, Bowling made imaginative, playful, intelligent and deeply nuanced use of cartographical imagery. With his map paintings, maps became signifiers with seemingly never-ending meanings, referencing such matters as his Caribbean/Guyanese background, other diasporic and continental African narratives, and reflections on modernism and history. The paintings marked an important period of the artist’s practice, before he embarked on the first of his dedicated phases of explorations of abstraction.

The exhibition ran from 16 October - 23 November 2013, and came with a particularly handsome Private View card and catalogue.

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click to show details of Frank Bowling OBE RA: Recent Paintings Private view card

»  Frank Bowling OBE RA: Recent Paintings Private view card

Announcement relating to an exhibition, 2012

click to show details of The Map Paintings - Frank Bowling

»  The Map Paintings - Frank Bowling

Invite relating to an exhibition, 2013

click to show details of The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

»  The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2015

Exhibitions at this venue

People who have appeared at this venue

»  Frank Bowling OBE, RA

Born, 1935 - 1937 (probably 1936) in British Guiana (now Guyana) Caribbean/S. America

Frank Bowling OBE RA: Recent Paintings

Solo show at Hales Gallery. 2012
Date: 31 May, 2012 until 7 July, 2012
Organiser: Hales Gallery

Related items

click to show details of Frank Bowling OBE RA: Recent Paintings Private view card

»  Frank Bowling OBE RA: Recent Paintings Private view card

Announcement relating to an exhibition, 2012

People in this exhibition

»  Frank Bowling OBE, RA

Born, 1935 - 1937 (probably 1936) in British Guiana (now Guyana) Caribbean/S. America

Exhibition venues

»  Hales Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Frank Bowling: The Map Paintings 1967 - 1971

Solo show at Hales Gallery. 2013
Date: 16 September, 2013 until 23 November, 2013
Organiser: Hales Gallery

The Map Paintings 1967-1971 was Frank Bowling’s third solo exhibition at Hales Gallery, London. The artist’s map paintings had been growing in visibility over the past several years, though as referenced in this exhibition’s title, they had been executed several decades earlier, for exhibitions such as  Bowling’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971.

When Rasheed Araeen included a reproduction of Night Journey, one of Bowling’s map paintings, towards the front of The Other Story catalogue, it was perhaps the first time a number of people were exposed to a fascinating body of work by Bowling. Scholarship by Kobena Mercer, Mel Gooding, and others subsequently served to embellish an understanding and appreciation of Bowling’s map paintings. (One of the most familiar works from this series, was included in the Afro Modern exhibition. The painting in question was Who’s Afraid of Barney Newman, oil paint on canvas, 2364 x 1295 x 27 mm, a painting from the Tate Collection, presented in 2006 by Rachel Scott.)

Within these paintings, Bowling made imaginative, playful, intelligent and deeply nuanced use of cartographical imagery. With his map paintings, maps became signifiers with seemingly never-ending meanings, referencing such matters as his Caribbean/Guyanese background, other diasporic and continental African narratives, and reflections on modernism and history. The paintings marked an important period of the artist’s practice, before he embarked on the first of his dedicated phases of explorations of abstraction.

The exhibition ran from 16 October - 23 November 2013, and came with a particularly handsome Private View card and catalogue.

Related items

click to show details of The Map Paintings - Frank Bowling

»  The Map Paintings - Frank Bowling

Invite relating to an exhibition, 2013

click to show details of The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

»  The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2015

People in this exhibition

»  Frank Bowling OBE, RA

Born, 1935 - 1937 (probably 1936) in British Guiana (now Guyana) Caribbean/S. America

Exhibition venues

»  Hales Gallery

London, United Kingdom

The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2015
Published by: Hales Gallery
Year published: 2015
Number of pages: 69

image of The Map Paintings 1967-1971 Frank Bowling OBE RA

Handsome catalogue, The Map Paintings 1967-1971, Frank Bowling’s third solo exhibition at Hales Gallery, London. The artist’s map paintings had been growing in visibility over the past several years, though as referenced in this exhibition’s title, they had been executed several decades earlier, for exhibitions such as  Bowling’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971. This was a revised edition of the catalogue - “revised edition published in 2015 (limited edition of 300) first published in 2013 (limited edition of 200). Within the catalogue, Bowling’s map paintings are extensovely documented, and the colour plates of paintings are interspersed with several double page installation views of the Hales Gallery display, and af fascinating installation view of Bowling’s paintings as seen in his exhibition at the Whitnry Museum of American Art, New York, November 5 - December 6, 1971. A smaller installation view of the Whitney exhibition, in monochrome, is reproduced as part of the catalogue text written by Mel Gooding. Another fascinating archival photograph in the publication is a colour photograph of ‘Frank Bowling in his Broadway Studio, New York, 1968’.

Mel Gooding had over a number of years distinguished himself as a passionae advocate of Bowling’s work and had written a number of essays on his practice, including a monograph on Bowling published by the Royal academy in 2011. Gooding continued his reflections on the significance of Bowling’s map paintings in his substantial essay for this catalogue. This was an absorbing and highly informative text that, with a casual but notable degree of familiarity, contained pronounced aspects of biography, alongside the text’s other impulses.

From Gooding’s text: “For Bowling the complexities and complications of mid-to-late ‘60s New York art were compounded by the problematic issues of personal expression and public representation that much occupied the thoughts and discussions of his black friends and associates in a largely segregated art world. Being a self-confident British-Colonial outsider, from somewhere else, Bowling moved freely betwen those racial hemispheres, having cose friends in both. It was, moreover in the great mainstream of western art (in America and beyond) that he was ambituously intent on making his presence felt, and for him the problem in New York in 1967 was more than simply formal and stylistic.” (page 8)

“The ‘map’ paintings do not register any emotive response to the cruelty, pity and sorrow of Black history in the Americas or elsewhere in the Atlantic ambit, nor do they carry any reference to the heroics of historical resistance. This does not in any way preclude readings of the paintings in which that history might figure as a moving resonance. In critical responses to the quasi-colour-abstraction of the ‘map’ paintings, connotation is all: ‘seeing’ is one thing, ‘interpreting’ another, and this is so even in the fruitful recent discussions that have been concerned with the problematic nature of Bowling’s avowed abstraction.”

The notable degree of familiarity aluded to above might have been on account of “a recorded conversation with the present author in September 2013” mentioned on page 10 of the catalogue.

Contents as follows:

Frank Bowling: The Msp Paintings 1967-1971, Mel Gooding

extensive selection of colour plates, interspersed with gallery installation views and aforementioned portrait of the artist in his studio

one page CV, including Photography Credits

portrait of Bowling in his London studio 2012

Related people

»  Frank Bowling OBE, RA

Born, 1935 - 1937 (probably 1936) in British Guiana (now Guyana) Caribbean/S. America

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Hales Gallery

London, United Kingdom