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IMMA is delighted to present Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi, a comprehensive overview of the work of seminal British artist Frank Bowling (b. British Guiana, 1934).

Saturday 24 March, 14.00 — 16.00
Baroque Chapel, IMMA
Speeches at 2.30pm, followed by music from Doc Bowling and His Blues Professors. Exhibition officially opened by Isaac Julian.

Over a long and varied career, the evolution of Bowling’s work can be seen as a reflection of a major evolution in painting throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Coming out of the fertile grounds of the Royal College of Art in the mid 1960’s Bowling, along with contemporaries like David Hockney and Ron Kitaj, exhibited widely in London and the UK, garnering acclaim for ambitious early works such as The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and Big Bird.

Following multiple working trips and an eventual move to New York in 1966, Bowling began to incorporate elements of Colour Field and Abstract Expressionist painting into his work. These influences, along with his enduring friendship and correspondence with the influential art critic Clement Greenberg contributed to his move into almost complete abstraction and ‘action painting’. Bowling’s dedication to experimentation and exploration of his craft can be seen in his major series of ‘Map’ and ‘Poured’ paintings, which embraced working at a larger scale and featuring complex applications of paint and other materials.

Over the last 50 years Bowling has exhibited, wrote, taught and curated widely in the United States and the UK. A recipient of multiple Guggenheim Fellowships and other awards, he also received consistently favourable reviews for, among others, his solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, New York (1971) and the Serpentine Gallery, London (1986).

This exhibition at IMMA showcases Bowling’s work from throughout his career, featuring works from the 1960s onwards and covering the major developments within his practice. Also included is selected material from the Frank Bowling archive, and several films featuring footage and interviews with the artist, including a specially created documentary featuring Frank Bowling in conversation about Ireland and Dublin and their influence on his work with Rachael Thomas, Head of Exhibitions.

Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi rightly identifies Bowling as a major figure in painting of the last 50 years. Alongside such milestones as being the first black artist elected to the Royal Academy (2005), the first black British artist to have work acquired by the Tate (Spreadout Ron Kitaj, 194-86, acquired 1987), and being appointed an Officer of the British Empire (2008), Bowling continues to produce ambitious and complex work today.

The opening party is proudly supported by our Major Openings Partner O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beers.