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The brilliant Frank Bowling exhibition at Tate Britain

— by Alyson Walsh

Frank Bowling portrait: Mathilde Agius

Frank Bowling is 85, he now paints sitting down with the help of assistants. ‘I can see more of what’s happening and use these nimble people, my new painting tools, to do more of what I want to have done,’ he has said. In the 1960s, Bowling was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, where he studied alongside David Hockney; and like Hockney, the Guyana-born artist has continued to experiment and create innovative work well into his ninth decade. After graduating, Bowling spent time teaching and contributing to an arts magazine in New York – initially, he lived at the Chelsea Hotel. But, despite the fact that he had an exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 1971, and has lived in London for the last 44 years, this is his first major retrospective in the UK. We’ve spoken of inequalities within the white male-dominated art world before… Frank Bowling is first black artist to become a member of the Royal Academy and finally, has been given a show at Tate Britain. His ‘poured’ paintings, ambient compositions and beautiful colour palette are outstanding. This is a glorious (if long-overdue) exhibition.

Ah Susan Whoosh, 1981.

Sacha Jason Guyana Dreams, 1989

Ziff, 1974. Frank Bowling painting photos via Tate

 

Frank Bowling: the possibilities of paint are never-ending is on at Tate Britain until 26 August 2019.

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