Once in awhile I come across a new artist, someone I have never seen nor heard of before, and they stop me in my tracks. Their paintings call up inexplicable emotion and I can't shake it. Such is the case with Katherine Bowling, whose work I saw in a magazine this fall. Here I am, three months later, and I'm still talking about it.
When I worked in the gallery, my favorite conversations with clients were around why people respond as they do to certain paintings. Whether it's a realistic scene, which brings up memories of a place we've been, something we've seen and the emotions associated with those memories, or more abstract work, it always comes down to emotions. We each respond with our own unique way of viewing the world, our own perceptions. And so I cannot say this will strike you as it did me. This is just me. For whatever reason, it's not going away.
Her titles are singular and carry with them their own grace notes, as in this one, simply titled, View:
They have an ethereal quality, perhaps reminding us of a dream we once had that sometimes returns, unbidden, called up by circumstance.
She spends part of each year in a 19th century farmhouse atop the Catskill Mountains, surrounded by woods and fields, painting what she refers to as "ordinary stuff." Using oils, she paints in somewhat of a fresco style, layering vinyl spackle on wood, not unlike plaster, then beginning with a base coat of bright color, which creates in her paintings that sense of light emanating from within. She often turns the painting around, letting the drips form aspects of the work. It's as though Impressionism wed Abstraction and out of it something new was born, something wonderful, something extraordinary.
She notes the early work of photographer Edward Steichen as an influence. I have always loved his photographs. Perhaps that's one element that helps explain why I'm drawn to her work. Considered the most expensive photograph in the world, taken by Steichen on Long Island in 1904, the photograph below recently sold at auction for $2.9. That's million.
I had a devil of a time trying to pick which pieces I'd share with you. Actually, it was quite heavenly. Emotions, of course, ruled the day, and my decisions. Here are some more that sang to me. Sirens on the rocks, I'm telling you. And I gladly surrender.
I sent an email to Katherine Bowling, requesting permission to showcase her work in my blog, and received a generous response in return granting me permission to use whatever I like, along with a nice comment on my blog. I am thrilled! Such a lovely way to start my morning. Her most recent show, "Moments of Grace," is at the DC Moore Gallery in New York City.
I encourage you to click on each and view them somewhat larger. The titles are included there, as well. I can imagine how wonderful they must be in person.
I really, really like her work and I think you're right. "Someplace we've been and can't right recall."ReplyDelete
I can seee why you had a devil of a time selecting what to show. Each captures, like you said, emotion. And, I spent some time on each, absorbing and being transported. The winter scenes really enthralled. Her lines into the future drew me in. Then, there are the branches up front, the future obscurred. I think it was the light in this room, but the cloud above the road seemed to have an outline of the United States...with much interpretative thought there.ReplyDelete
Teresa, your writing compliment all. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, these speak to me too. They all have a wonderful light ...and give me a feeling of having been/seen/experienced this before. Thank you for sharing them with me.ReplyDelete
Teresa, these are beautiful! They make me want to go to New York to see the exhibit - and I haven't been to New York in more than 20 years.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your responses. I'm happy to know she/her work resonates with others, too. I've received a lovely response from Ms. Bowling, expressing her appreciation for this post. I cannot imagine life without artists and their meaningful work.ReplyDelete
You write like an accomplished gallery host and helped me to appreciate Ms. Bowling's work very much. Her paintings do bring out emotions deep within,emotions of wonder, peace, and contentment.ReplyDelete
I really like her work too, most have those long distance views I appreciate in real life, thinking or dreaming and relaxing as I look afar, landscapes have always appealed to me. The photograph is wonderful, those misty, moody scenes really appeal to me, thanks.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Paul, and Thank you, Linda, for reading and responding. It was such a pleasure for me to be able to write about them and share them.ReplyDelete
I would like to add: Katherine Bowling's husband, Paul Mitemear, posted a response under my post, "Saying Grace" that might be of interest. It made my spirit soar.
Wonderful, wonderful post. I awoke to a white wonderland this morning here in Illinois and Katherine Bowling's snowy pictures were as if her easel was here in front of our window, soaking it all onto her wood and into our world.ReplyDelete
You say it so well about art "that each person gets to bring their own particular set of emotions to it, drinking it in and walking away, taking with them what they will." Thank you for letting me take away so much this morning. Penny
Thank you for stopping by, Penny. I find new snow very comforting. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
I especially liked what you said about the paintings reminding us of places we've been but can't quite recall. Lovely.ReplyDelete
Lovely paintings, Teresa. Thanks for showcasing this fine artist.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Nancy. Art has so much to show us about our shared human experience.ReplyDelete
George, Thank you for stopping by.
Teresa, Beautiful paintings...all so solitary. I appreciated your commentary because I know nothing about art, other than I enjoy it.ReplyDelete
Such beautiful paintings and a lovely tribute. Her work seems to be a blend of realism and impressionism (the impressionists are my favorite artists). Very calming. Would love to visit that gallery.ReplyDelete
Hi #1 Nana! Thanks for stopping by. so glad you enjoyed this post. You know the most important aspect of art - appreciation! :)ReplyDelete
CherylK, They are calming, yet I find them mysterious, too. Yes, it would be so nice to visit the gallery and see them in person.
Thank you Teresa for being such a teacher of art and emotion. You always see the greater intelligence in things that it's difficult for a lot of people to see..... me leading that pack. A lot of times I skim the surface with humor and I believe that is a cover-up for not wanting to look deeply.You are able to look deeply without guilt or embarrassment. Thank you dear little lamb.ReplyDelete
Oh, Manzi, you are very kind and generous to me and I thank you. I'm deeply appreciative of your seeing me in such a positive light. I trust you're having a good weekend.ReplyDelete
Quite a nice selection of Bowling. I like the forest with colored lights and the V-formation of geese.ReplyDelete
Jack, That formation of geese really did it for me. I just love it's simplicity - that big sky and those beautiful geese, making their way through.... Good to hear from you.ReplyDelete
i am so interested in painting right now.ReplyDelete
her work does look like a dream, or an awakening, not yet wide awake... nothing is static, always moving. loved the "birds flying"/ "reflections on the water".
Michelle, What a lovely description of her work. It's always so Good to hear from you.ReplyDelete
Magical work and post. Each is a dream that makes me want to linger much, much longer. I'm drawn to shadow her hand with mine on the brush, to see what those strokes feel like as they form the images of that places she finds. The between. What a lovely way to begin this first day of 2011. I should have been here sooner. Thank you Teresa.ReplyDelete
Steichen's photo! Oh my. Time in a bottle.
Meant to add how much the last painting reminds me of your garden. Beautiful.ReplyDelete
Chris, What lovely thoughts you've shared here. The between. Yes. I'm so glad they speak to you, too. She provides some very magical places to visit in her paintings.ReplyDelete