Rich Bowman Artist Statement and Bio
I’m not one to put things in a neat little box and label them, but for a quick explanation of my total body of work to date, I’ll try to do so.
I have developed, over a decade, two starting approaches to painting. One is based off photographic reference and preliminary studies, the other is completely free of photo reference and relies on adaptation and improvisation. In other words, starting a painting with a plan or without one. Not all my work is completely one or the other. Sometimes I begin with one approach and complete the painting with the other.
My signature work, as my wife coined it, is the work that I’m most known for and is the base of my passion for traditional landscapes and light. These paintings start out with a traditional approach of using photographic references or a field study to achieve a specific feel. They are dramatic, sometimes graphic, and, at times, pushed to abstraction. They reflect my love of light and its hypnotic effect on myself and the environment in which I live. I’ve tried to expand my subject matter several times. I have always returned to nature, specifically landscapes. The flexibility of the subject matter and the endless possibilities continue to intrigue my imagination. My signature work stretches reality using light, color, and design but always stays within reach of what it’s representing.
Emerging works through a new approach
For me, being an artist means taking some risks and trying new ways of applying paint or approaching subject matter. Call it what you like; experimentation, growth, changing it up or just plan having fun. For me, it’s necessary in keeping my creative sanity. This newer approach is basically void of photographic reference. However, on occasion, I have used photos (for reference) to complete a painting.
I quickly found that this way of painting is very interpretive and open ended (and can be incredibly frustrating if you’re not open to all possibilities). One or two too many strokes and the painting is over-worked. A lot of the time these images are built off a few simple marks that are subconsciously made over a blocked in horizon line or a previously scraped painting and built into a somewhat representational form. This process is so contradictory to my normal or traditional starting process. It has produced many new discoveries on the canvas but the most profound is its positive effect on my creative esteem and awareness. The work is looser, less descriptive, more expressive, and more sketch-like than my signature work.
In summary, I’m a painter utilizing multiple methods, in different orders, to get to an end result. The end result being an oil painting from a unique, individual perspective that provokes an emotion or thought.
(Written by Sara Ford)
There’s something about the sky: something that prompts the spirit to soar especially during those magical moments when the sun retreats; it’s work complete. Painter Rich Bowman’s abstracted representational works are compelling. The broad sweep of the sky, alive with color and intriguing clouds towering above the landscape, evokes intense emotions in those seeking renewal.
Capturing the moods of the Midwestern sky is nothing short of a spiritual retreat for Bowman. “These familiar places calm my soul. The simple act of translating this subject matter grounds me,” he explains. “In truth it’s my meditation, my escape from life’s everyday pressures. When I paint, time is erased and my mind is eased by the boundless skies and transitioning hues.” Whether his paintings are serene or ominous – the artist says the emotion depends on his mood – Bowman’s skyscapes provide an emotional oasis.
The painter’s dusky sunsets, rich in texture and blended color, are captivating because of their intensity. “That’s the time of day that really inspires me,” Bowman says. The artist was born at sunset, a biographical fact that could be mere coincidence. On the other hand, Bowman’s time of birth could have been a hint of what was to come. His environment certainly influenced his art.
Not long after he was born in 1969 in Sherman, Texas, Bowman’s family moved to Missouri. Surrounded by thunderclouds, rolling fields, gentle hills and flat river plains, the artist grew to love the quixotic nature of the fluid environment. “The sky is always changing colors and shapes, “Bowman says. “Every time you turn your head there is an experience to see.”
Bowman went on to study art in high school. He also enrolled in figurative drawing classes offered at the Kansas City Art Institute. Because of that experience, the faculty of the prestigious institute encouraged Bowman to apply for a scholarship. Before he enrolled as a college student, Bowman debated whether to become an architect or an artist. “I decided that art was the more natural thing for me,” he says, citing another example of following the dictates of his heart. Bowman eventually earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree there.
After graduation he went to work for Hallmark as an illustrator. Over time, he advanced within the company until he became a design manager. During that period Bowman also took on additional jobs, working as a freelance illustrator. “I did a lot of jobs for well known companies. The way I worked was slow and laborious,” he says. “It just burned me out.” Bowman decided to quit freelancing and to explore fine art.
In the beginning he wasn’t certain what to paint. “I started going out in the country. Sunsets seemed to be a time of day when you could relax,” Bowman explains. “They became kind of my meditation.” As his work evolved, he learned to rely on memory and intuition. “My paintings are created from everyday images stored over a lifetime in my subconscious,” Bowman says. “They are not about the details of a specific place. I try to convey a feeling of time and atmosphere through texture, design and color.”
As a result, the artist experienced an exhilarating freedom and a sense of peace.
Born: 4/15/69 6:20 p.m. (sunset) Sherman, TX. Currently lives in Kansas City, Mo.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Kansas City Art Institute, May 91
2014 Group show, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2014 Group exhibitio, Craighed Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2013 Two person show, Blue Gallery, Kansas City MO
2012 Group show, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2012 Group exhibition, Craighead Green, Dallas TX
2011 Two man exhibition, Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2010 Solo Exhibition, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2009 Group show, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2009 Group show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2009 Group show, Bonner David Galleries. Scottsdale, AZ
2008 One man show, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2008 One man show, Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008 Group show, Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX
2007 Two man show, Meyer Gallery, Park City, Utah
2007 Two man show, Howard/Mandville Gallery, Seattle, WA
2007 Best of the Best, Group show, Bonner David Galleries. Scottsdale, AZ
2006 One man show, The Blue Gallery Kansas City, MO
2006 One Man show, Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2006 Group show, Bonner David Galleries. Scottsdale, AZ
2006 Group show, Love of the Land, Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA
2006 One man exhibition, The Meyers Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2005 Emerging Artist exhibition, Bennett Street Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2005 One man exhibition, The Meyers Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2005 One man show, Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2004 One man show, The Blue Gallery Kansas City, MO
2004 Two man show at The Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2003 Two man show at The Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2000 E-4 Corporate Art Exhibition, Overland Park, KS
2000 Crit Group Show, Shiraz Gallery, Kansas City, MO
1999 Crit Group Show, Shiraz Gallery, Kansas City, MO
1999 Solo Show, Shiraz Gallery, Kansas City, MO
Kansas City power/Light, KC, MO
Mediflex, Kansas City, MO
Akin, Gump LLP, Dallas TX
Weil, Gotshal & Manges. New York, NY
Shook, Hardy and Bacon LLP, Kansas City, MO
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Overland Park Community Center, Overland Park, KS
Spine & Specialty Hospital-Shawnee Mission, KS
The Intercontinental Hotel-Kansas City, MO
Enturia, Inc.-Leawood, KS
National Center for Drug Free Sports-Kansas City, MO
Husch Blackwell Sanders Law Firm-Kansas City, MO
Schlotzky’s Inc., Austin TX
Aurther Bryant’s Restaurant, Kansas City MO
Voted 2005 best visual artist in Kansas City by KC Magazine
Society of Illustrators 35, 1994
Society of Illustrators 34, 1993
Kansas City Art Directors Association, Gold medal, painting,1992
Society of Illustrators Student 33, 1992
Artist & Illustrators Magazine, UK, July 2011, Article on The Harmony of Analogy.
Cover of Pitch Weekly, First Fridays Magazine Nov. 2010
KC Magazine Nov. 2010
Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice, Watson-Guptill/Random House, Nov 09
Spaces Kansas City, Aug 09
American Art Collectors 45, July 08
Spaces Kansas City, March 08
Southern Living magazine, Feb 08
Design NJ magazine, New Jersey, June/July 07
Winter Count, Poems by Connie Dover (cover art) –March 07
American Art Collectors, Collectors preview for up coming show -March 07
American Art Collectors, Featured Artist -May 06
KC Magazine, Best visual artist in KC- Sept. 05
>Southwest Art magazine cover – Apr 04
Southwest Art magazine – Oct 01
Kansas City Home magazine – Mar 00
Southwest Airlines magazine – Jun 97
United Airlines magazine – Feb 97
Kansas City Star – Nov 96
Mondavi wines – Aug 96
Society of Illustrators – 94, 93, 92