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In 1943, Bowman commenced his "rock and Sun" series. It was a
style so powerful, with the sun as an energy source and the rock as
a symbol of stability, that its direction did not change for seven
years. It did change in form, though. Where the earliest shapes had
an almost cubistic crispness, Bowman's sun eventually burned them to
a brightly glowing cinder. It is this tremendous blazing dynamism
that makes Bowman's work unique, and after 1950 it was unbounded.
His interest in science led to a series of "Kinetographs," which
were based on atomic and sub-atomic structure, the action of nuclear
particles, trackings, and force fields.
So much energy was unleashed, figuratively speaking, that the
entire concept finally disintegrated. Still the energy persisted.
While developing "Kinetographs, he made a startling discovery using
fluorescent lacquers to highlight key areas of the painting to
emphasize the energy generative principle of his forms. A wider
variety of colors were made available in oil-based fluorescents that
he eventually employed as a principal medium. The difficulties
inherent in these pigments was considerable, The risk was great to
produce an effect of rawness and eye fatigue when they were
administered in their full intensity. Bowman learned to temper their
punch with the over glazes of conventional pigment which allowed the
super-charged richness to come through while avoiding sensory
overload in the viewer. His rendering of this new medium became
looser and more gestural in its abstraction and for the next several
years would come closer to adhering to the precepts of Abstract
Expressionism, there was a fundamental difference in temperament
between Bowman and the mainstream Abstract Expressionists however,
in that Bowman declined the notion of abandoning references to
nature in his work; indeed he found them a basic point of departure.
His compositions grew more lyrical, his forms more explosive while
he employed the fluorescents to their full potential.
Richard Bowman saw the role of an artist as a Promethean figure,
that is the maker of power objects for man's higher understanding.
Whether this is true or not remains in the heart of the viewer. What
is certain though, is that the values that lay inherent at the core
of Richard Bowman's work, will remain forever intact.
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