Thursday, 6 October 2016

2016 : 9 KATY BOWMAN - OCT/NOV 2016

KATY BOWMAN,  Shifting Contingencies  (2016)
Mixed media installation

Current: October/November 2016
View at: 79 Main Street BEEAC

Transactional interface

Above all Katy Bowman is an observer.  
Although perhaps she would prefer the word explorer.

This may seem a strange observation to make about a visual artist – are artists not meant to work in movements, isms, recognizable styles, schools? within formulas that allow the viewer to compartmentalize them, categorize them, organize them, get a grip? 
What do you do with ‘an observer’ who might respond to anything … or go off exploring?

If the artist is not easily categorized what then? Perhaps their work is contingent on the pleasure of surprise? Katy Bowman’s installation at WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC seems just that: Shifting Contingencies (2016) is a transactional interface of colour and light, constantly surprising with its mobile discs of interaction, referencing local colour, local history, the circularities of country routines and travels …

Bowman takes the fundamental elements of the visual – colour, light, shape and line and allows and enables surprises, in a space more usually associated with displaying information, (aka advertising), and so doing her work breathes new life into the possibilities of a shopfront, a window. Bowman states: 
My intention is to make a work which will be readable from both a distance and close up and that depending on the viewer’s vantage point will subtly shift during the course of the day and change as the viewer moves past it.  
The key ideas that underpin the work are notions of space, time and light in the context of this particular site and how each informs the other.

Bowman’s mission? To take the viewer/passerby along with her, to provoke consideration of the physics of colour, the chemistry of visual relationships, the trance-like magic of colour and movement – to draw out a musing that gently evokes the locality … ah that’s the colour of those plants near the lake ... beadwort … the lake … discs like a salt-pan … sun wind windmills … and so the transactional interface of visual elements melds with this context, this landscape, local activities, rural cycles – and surprises.

Bowman makes clear: ‘I am particularly interested in working with a variety of materials which respond to light’; ‘in placing my work in the public realm and in particular windows’. The artist has a background in performance and it is interesting to note that Alexander Calder, early creator of what we now know as ‘mobiles’ (motion + motive) was, like Bowman, drawn to performance and indeed had his own Cirque Calder.

If the simple disc, (and Ben Day dot), is deemed a ‘pop’ element then it is worth knowing too that interest in the political side of ‘pop’ saw a recent exhibition at the Tate Modern, London, entitled: The World Goes Pop (Tate Modern, London, Sept 2015 – Jan 2016) which teased out the international reach of the movement, its politics and the paradox of ‘eye candy or erudite criticism’ – worth bearing in mind in the context of Bowman’s Shifting Contingencies at WINDOWSPACE BEEAC over October/November.

For more on Bowman's work visit her website:


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