Of Roads, Homes and Cities
The mechanics of life in the city appear to relentlessly flow, traffic behaves itself, there is an obedience of the rules, streets and buildings. The iconic urban house conforms to an archetypal plan, one of high density, acting as a metaphor for the people who inhabit the city. A brief sense of melancholy is dispelled when you realise that order is instructive, the driver is whistling, the family is happy, the flow is purposeful.
Bowen's paintings and sculptures are more than important sociological statements of our current urbanology. They resist the very thing that they are seemingly about - conformity. The inert is animated. Windows beam, the vehicles are jaunty, the long dog is stretched by the day's demands. The ovoid trees, the home with its curiously human features are symbolic of the archetypal urban family, and we are invited along on the journey. Inside the quirky cars, travelling along-side trucks, moving into a forked intersection, merging with more traffic, we are carried along. The scenes are ordered yet full of motion, quiet yet full of sounds, inhabited yet largely devoid of humans. Bowen creates an extraordinary frieze-like narrative, imbued with a tension that illuminates the dynamics of colour and composition. It is an iconography balanced between the familial and known with the urban spiritual.
The snaking country roads, man-made black routes that meet the darkness of night accentuate the vastness of space and the solitary driver heading towards the horizon. The mechanical is absorbed within nature and a sublime sense of the infinitesimal exists. Comets, stars and earth humble the traveller and the spatial elements excite the senses. Bowen's language is at once felicitously comforting, sometimes brutally honest and with an edge of satire. Above all. Dean Bowen's art is a celebration of what we know.