Margaret Bowland's first New York solo exhibition "Excerpts from the Great American Songbook" is currently on at Babcock Galleries. This is definitely an exhibition not to miss as Margaret Bowland is one of the great up & coming painters currently working in the USA.
Margaret Bowland: Excerpts from the Great American Songbook is accompanied by a new book on the artist written by Siri Hustvedt and published jointly by Babcock Galleries and the Greenville County Museum of Art.
After New York, the exhibition goes to the Greenville County Museum of Art from May 18 to July 17, 2011.
Margaret Bowland's Excerpts from the Great American Songbook explores problematic and provocative issues of race, gender, beauty and individuality in contemporary social thought. She evokes great old musical standards like "Isn't It Romantic," with its velvet melody caressing one's ear and lyrics hanging in the air: "Soon I will have found some girl that I adore/Isn't it romantic?/While I sit around my love can scrub the floor..." Suddenly, it isn't so romantic as the song floats one into the dark side of gender and race. Bowland says "beauty makes sense to me...has weight for me, only when it falls from grace. It starts to matter when it carries damage. Sorrow allows [beauty] to cast a shadow". And what is the shadowy dark side of beauty? Bowland's paintings, conceived with a rich tenebrist light seem to punch their way into one's consciousness through the captivating metaphorical image of a young black girl whose inner awareness looks upon an outer world in which "it ain't necessarily so". Everything is so audaciously familiar in Margaret Bowland's paintings, so known and certain, and yet immediately, viscerally and fastidiously uncertain.