Paul Bowen was kind enough to answer some of my questions about creative ancestry and artist connections. I have never met him but have always appreciated his work when I have visited Provincetown. Thanks, Paul!
Lisa, so glad you ask about creative ancestry !
It is something that I'm conscious and grateful for.
I grew up in Wales in the 1950s Welsh was my Dad's first language, but in those days uniformity was encouraged so my brother and I never became fluent. In Wales, conscious visual culture is relatively recent, whereas music and literature have always been central to the culture.
Part of our family worked in the slate quarries and I was thrilled to find out recently that there was ships carpenter among them. My taid (grandather) worked in a hardware store and had a sideline engraving coffin plates ! I have his tools in my workshop. My Dad was an architect and although he was well known for his Bauhaus-ish buildings, his real love was the old architecture, castles, churches, burial chambers and standing stones of the area we lived in. Much of our family time was spent exploring there and I am forever grateful for my parents love of the landscape. In WW II my Dad served in The Royal Engineers, building bridges, and in bomb disposal..I had had a couple of the bombs he defused, hanging on my bedroom wall when I as a kid.
|Apse, 2016-17, Rust Stained Wood, 12.5 x13 x 2 inches|
|Latch, rust, 2017|
|Hiraethum, 1986, wood and chalk, 101 in x 81 in x 14 in, private collection|
|Kedge, wood, 1990, 168 x 108 x 18 in|
I'm working on a list of artist I connect with, some from long ago, others more recent, and some are peers. A proper list would be pages long !
Susan Wall, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gwen John, Lyonel Feininger, Samuel Palmer, Ben Nicholson. Eric Ravilous, Sal Scarpitta, Robert Mallary, Lee Bontecou, Helen Carnac, Mondrian, Brancusi, Provincetown Printers, Jean Smith, Myron Stout, Paul Nash, Magdalena Abakanowitz, Christo, Nolde, Brenda Chamberlain, Eva Hess, Joseph Beuys.
|"Provincetown Studios" Blanche Lazzell, woodcut, 7 x 4|
|Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 89 oil barrels on Rue Visconti, June 27, 1962|
|Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 1964|
|Myron Stout, “Untitled” (1977–79), graphite on paper, 5|
|Elder, Skaters Before the Gate of St. George in Antwerp, 1558|
I have a direct conection to some of these artists through the materials, process or imagery they use, the others listed are mostly painters and it is painting and drawing that I find myself looking at these days. The block-buster rather corporate feel of much current work interests me less and less and I find that I'm drawn to simple direct expression, and often to the work of amateurs, sincere, intimate and authentic.
|Boat and Bridge|
|Armada, 2016, wood and bronze, 9 x 8 x 4 in.|
|Beacon, 2016, wood and bronze, 9 x 5 x 3|
What books are you reading these days?
I'll be showing a major work built from oars in 'Preserving The Very Nature of Cape Cod' at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis Ma, March 15 - May 20.
And currently working on a series of commissioned table top sculptures for 'On Edge ' at The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield By. May 20 - January 20, 2018
And will have new work at Albert Merola Gallery in Provincetown this summer and at Big Town Gallery , Rochester, Vermont.