Africa to Australia, 1971

Miami Beach 2019
Hales Gallery
Acrylic on canvas
Artwork size
281.0 x 666.0 (cm)
110.6 x 262.2 (inch)

Over a career spanning 60 years, Frank Bowling has continued to explore the nature and possibilities of paint. The historically significant work Africa to Australia is from Bowling’s key ‘map paintings’ series. The work was first shown in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971, which is still considered one of the artist’s most celebrated exhibitions, and firmly established his practice in the United States. In the monumental Africa to Australia, distinct sections of stained color are grounded by the outline of a map, an orchestration of the emotive potential of paint to communicate a visual experience of uniquely sensuous immediacy. In the ‘Mappa Mundi’ show of Bowling’s monumental paintings in 2017 at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, curator Okwui Enwezor suggested that what Bowling sought to accomplish was nothing less than ‘the visual fusion of epic time and boundless space.’

Frank Bowling OBE RA (born 1934 in Bartica, Guyana) moved to London in 1953, where his artistic career began shortly after his arrival at the Royal College of Art (1959-62). Bowling began as a figurative painter incorporating personal and political imagery, before moving to New York in 1966, where he made a decisive turn towards abstraction. In this career-defining moment, he developed a process-based practice, reflective of what the critic Clement Greenberg once said to him: ‘In America, there is no no-go area for anybody.’ The artist has since established studios in both New York and London.

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