Barnett Newman was one of the major artists of the abstract expressionism and colour field movements. Here Frank Bowling challenges his predecessor by using Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue II
compositional format as a starting point for a ‘Map painting’ – extending and exploring its possibilities. Stencilled onto the canvas are outlines of Guyana and the South American sub-continent.
Who’s Afraid of Barney Newman
Date of work
Original: Acrylic paint on canvas 236.4 x 129.5 cm Tate. Presented by Rachel Scott 2006
Frank Bowling (born 1936) 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.