You’ve probably not heard of Frank Bowling, though Hales Gallery in Shoreditch does exhibit his work quite frequently. Born in Guyana some 85 years ago, he still paints in his London studio every day, continuing his lifelong experimentation with paint. Somehow, he has failed to achieve the recognition that his cotemporaries such as David Hockney have managed.
Here underneath the bold concrete geometry of its 1970′s extension, the walls are filled with Frank Bowling’s large canvases, quite a contrast. The architecture is controlled and rigorous; the paintings are unpredictable and free-flowing, breaking all the rules – if there were any. Tate Britain’s retrospective of Frank Bowling’s 60 year career progresses through his different phases including time spent in New York, as early influences from Guyana and from artists he admired such as Turner, Constable, Gainsborough and Mondrian and the British Pop Scene have merged into his own experiments. Such is the experimental mature of his work that he only gives a paintings its title once it is completed, which adds an additional twist. Thank goodness he does this and doesn’t fall back on the ghastly title ‘Untitled’ which far too many artists use.