This participatory installation invited visitors to stroll through unfurled rolls of paper filled with black ink drawings of paper clips, chewed gum, balloons, flowers, and everything else visitors request Bowlby to draw. She was in the gallery on Sundays from noon-4 p.m., and by chance or appointment, fulfilling written requests for drawings that visitors leave in a fishbowl.
For over a decade, Bowlby has steadily gained recognition for her room-sized fantasy landscapes composed of thousands of hand-cut, simplified ink drawings on paper. This exhibition as part of USM’s Artist-in-Residence program, a program designed to foster artistic experimentation, represents several significant shifts for the artist. This is the first time Bowlby has incorporated her presence as part of her exhibit; has designed an exhibition to evolve throughout its duration; and is drawing upon suggestions from others. This latter development, already begun with gallery interns developing lists of objects to be drawn, has necessitated different approaches to creating imagery other than from her familiar mental stockpile. The incorporation of other sources such as actual things and web pictures will still carry Bowlby’s signature black squiggly lines that hover between recognizable content and bold pattern.
Originally from Maine, Bowlby received her B.F.A. from USM and her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where she is currently a visiting critic and represented by Gallery Joe. Bowlby has shown extensively in Maine, including the Portland Museum of Art, as well as around the country and abroad. Recent exhibitions include “VOLTA,” Basel, Switzerland; “Vacationland,” Bogart Salon, Brooklyn, NY; and “Calm, Cool, Collected,” Danese, New York, N.Y. Bowlby is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and numerous other awards. Her work is included in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library, among others.
Dates: January 24 – March 6, 2013
Location: University of Southern Maine AREA Gallery [Defunct]