Melvin Edwards is a New York based artist working in abstract metal sculpture, and a pioneer in contemporary African-American art and sculpture. Frank Bowling admired Edwards’ work, and wrote about his works from a 1970 exhibition the Whitney Museum of American Art in an essay titled ‘It’s Not Enough to Say “Black Is Beautiful”’. Both Bowling and Edwards responded to their lived experience as artists and people of colour by creating abstract pieces, rather than the ‘political-realist art’ that was being demanded of them at the time. A ‘Map painting’, stencilled outlines of Africa, South America and Guyana punctuate the piece, mirrored and abstracted amidst the yellow, oranges and blues of the acrylic and spray paints saturating the canvas.
Mel Edwards Decides
Date of work
Original: Acrylic paint and spray paint on canvas 293 x 261 cm Private collection, client of Adam Green Art Advisory
Frank Bowling (born 1934) moved to Britain in his late teens from Guyana, and studied painting at the Royal College of Art alongside David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj and Derek Boshier, graduating in 1962 with the Silver Medal in painting. Bowling’s work combines figuration, abstract elements, contemporary and autobiographical references with intense experimentation and exploration of the possibilities of paint. He was elected as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2005, and awarded an OBE in 2008. He continues to work in his studios in New York and London.