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Frank Bowling

Paintings 1960s


Mirror, 1966 Oil on canvas

Mirror, 1966
Oil on canvas
310h x 216.8w cm
Collection Tate, UK

False Start, 1967

False Start, 1967
Acrylic on canvas
63.75 x 51w in (161.9h x 129.5w cm)


Swan II, 1964
Oil on Canvas
44.1h x 95.6w in (112h x 243w cm)

Towards Green, 1967

Towards Green, 1967
Acrylic on Canvas
47.6 x 106.75 in (121h x 271w cm)


Studying painting at the Royal College of Art from 1959—62, Frank Bowling embraced figuration. Influenced by artists like Francis Bacon, his early work was expressionist and gestural. Reflecting on this period, he recalls, “What was feeding my creative energy and what I was making pictures about was life … Distilling my drive to painting was the human dilemma and this business about suffering.” After graduating from the Royal College, he began to experiment with elements of Pop Art, discovering, as the critic and writer Mel Gooding notes, “that he could … present images as arbitrary and enigmatic, and exploit poetic implication and thematic allusion.” At the same time, beginning to incorporate personal content into his compositions via screen-printed imagery—including photographs of his mother’s general store in Guiana—Bowling constructed autobiographical and post-colonial narratives.