This is one of Frank Bowling’s best known ‘Map paintings’, positioning the outline of South America framed within rectangles across the canvas. Bowling made these outlines from stencils he created, and we can see a number of these shapes covered in varying thicknesses of paint. The central image is left clearly visible, drawing the viewer’s eye as the starting place to explore the piece’s incredible texture and colour work.
South America Squared
Date of work
Original: Acrylic paint and spray paint on canvas 243 x 274 cm Rennie Collection, Vancouver
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.