Painter John Bowman, Penn State professor of art, is exhibiting his recent work in a solo show, Open City, at Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York, January 9–February 15, 2014. The exhibited oil paintings are a series of layered cityscapes that use visual fragments from real and remembered places in Albania, Turkey, Egypt and Eastern Europe. Each composite city represents an imagined hybrid—a place transformed by time and memory in which familiar buildings and landmarks are repeated, rearranged, eroded or eradicated.
The frantic, layered structures of Bowman’s Open City embody the rapid growth that many cities in the region he depicts are currently experiencing. These places, in the midst of an historic transition, are evolving from rural to urban landscapes in an attempt to accommodate a rising, changing population. The unexpected juxtapositions, radical interruptions and extreme proportions of Bowman’s works suggest the movement of cities eagerly building upon themselves, erasing their past as they charge into the future.
The ordered and chaotic patterns found in Bowman’s urban landscapes are reminiscent of Byzantine mosaics, Islamic tile work, the modernist grid and mathematical tessellation. Each work presents the viewer with an urban maze, streets converging and separating in rapid succession as the eye tries to trace a route across the city. They echo both the elaborate, fictive prisons of Piranesi, and Mondrian's abstract geometric compositions.
Bowman works in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing and sculpture. He recently participated in “Service to Public Areas,” a collaborative public art project in Shkodra, Albania. He has shown internationally and is represented in many private and museum collections.
For more information about Bowman, visit newyork.winstonwachter.com/artist/bowman-john/. For more information on Winston Wächter Fine Art, visit winstonwachter.com. The gallery is located at 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001.