Thursday 18 February 2016

SASHA BOWLES    A Few Questions and Answers

Dealing with a metamorphosis of secondary imaging; I am currently working on a series entitled ‘Taking Liberties With The Masters’. They are both a homage and intervention where I playfully interact on bookplates and postcards of other artists’ paintings; then re-present them. Most recently I have been developing this thread to encompass my own photography of sculptures which I then extend by adding painted mediations culminating in new interpretations.

Rather than copying, the relation to the past has become increasingly defined, in broad terms, by the process of technical reproduction, and thus by appropriation.’ (John-Paul Stonard)

Many of the paintings I am familiar with or inspired by have come to me through secondary imaging, containing none of the fundamental qualities that encapsulate the originals – namely the hand of the artist. They lack a sense of scale, feel for paint application and contain no feeling of  craft  or  beauty of surface. Through creating new images from the printed reproductions; I am building an intimate relationship with these works, which also brings the viewer up close to consider them both as living paintings and objects. They are mischievously re-contextualised and continue the ongoing conversation between artists throughout art history; questioning both our relationship to art history and to the ownership of these images.

Furry Friend     2015
Can you describe your practice in a few words?
Intervention, homage, metamorphosis.
What is your earliest memory of art?
At home, my father has always collected art. He once bought a print from a man who came knocking on the door. It was by Chris Orr, called 'Vermeer's Budgie (Or Life in the 21st Century'. It hung in the hallway for years, it is quite rude and very funny. I would spend hours looking at it. I met Chris Orr many years later and he was delighted to hear where the print had ended up. It turned out that as a young artist, a friend of his had traipsed around from door to door selling his prints and every now and then he hears where another one has ended up. 
It now hangs in my hallway.
Have you shown your work in a non-white cube space before?
A couple of times. Once in a dis-used parking garage in Hoxton and also in two adjoining dilapidated houses in Notting Hill; part domestic; part scientific manufacturer and paper press. Oh and recently in a Crypt in Marylebone.
What does this sort of space bring to your work?
It re-contextualises it and becomes a part of the work.
Does the environment in which you exhibit your work change how your work is perceived?
Yes, because how you present your work is always a part of the work. You have to be aware of the environment as it can overwhelm the work, so it is important to use it to your advantage.
What is the future for art outside the gallery context?
I think that artists are very inventive and have been using non-white cube spaces for a long time now. Partly through necessity and partly because it is more suitable to the work they are making. In times of recession there are more chances to find unusual spaces that people are willing to let you use. In the past few weeks I have visited exhibitions in a disused shop, someone's home, a run-down opulent hotel and a crypt. I imagine that these sort of exhibitions will continue into the future. 
What was your first experience of King's Cross?
All night screenings of Andy Warhol films at the Scala Cinema as an undergraduate. I just found out recently that the Scala had a short lived life as a Primatarium, (to raise awareness about primates), with the stalls reconstructed to resemble a hillside forest and a great waterfall cascading down the full height of the auditorium. I'm sorry I missed that! Would have been amazing!
What is the future for art?
More and more cross fertilisation of ideas and artists collaborating.
If you could meet one artist living or dead, who would that be and why?
What is your greatest weakness?
Being distracted in the studio: singing along to REALLY LOUD music badly at the top of my voice with my studio mate Christopher. 
(The Stray Cats are a particular favourite at the moment) Pretending to work, but really just having a really good time.
And distraction in general. There is just so must interesting stuff out there. I want to do it all.
What is the last exhibition you visited that unnerved you?
Carsten Nicolai at Brewer Street Car Park in collaboration with the Vinyl Factory. It extended the boundaries between audio and visual work and just messed with my mind.
What place do aspects of traditional craft play in your work?
Craftsmanship of the work is important, even if you want to de-construct the craft it is important to understand it. The more skilled you become in a medium the more you can 'play' within it. I have recently been learning bookbinding and each stage of 'crafting' the book involves patience and precision, both skills difficult for me to contain.
What projects do you have coming up in the future?
I'm exhibiting in a group show 'COMPLICITY, Artifice and Illusion' at Collyer Bristow (curated by Rosalind Davis)- opens 2nd March. Then I have a solo exhibition at 286 Gallery in Earl's Court, which opens 10th May.

Lace Head  2016


Sasha Bowles lives and works in London and completed her MA at Wimbledon College of Art in 2013. In the past few years she has been selected to exhibit in various opens including: The Crash Open & Photo and Print Open (Charlie Dutton), Discernible (Zeitgeist Arts), Barbican Arts Trust, The Lynn Painter Stainers, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (invited artist) and The Discerning Eye (winning the Benton Prize).
In 2014 she was selected for Oriel Davis, The Open West, Future Map and Discerning Eye.  She co-curated and exhibited in ‘Bodies That Matter’ at ArtLacuna and co-produced The Bodies That Matter 3 publication. She also exhibited in a 4-man show ‘A Virtual Topography’, at Husk Gallery.
In 2015 Bowles has exhibited in group exhibitions at Standpoint Gallery, Husk Gallery, Day and Gluckman, The Crypt Gallery, Lubomirov Angus-Hughes and The Display Gallery.
In 2016 she organised & co-curated COUNTER_FITTERS- a site specific exhibition at the Geddes Gallery, King’s Cross. In March she will be exhibiting in Complicity, Artifice & Illusion at Collyer Bristow, curated by Rosalind Davis. In May this year she has a solo exhibition at 286 Gallery, London.
Bowles has work in private and public collections in Britain, Europe and America.
twitter: SashaBowles1


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