b. 1934, British Guiana; lives and works in London
2008 Awarded OBE 2005 Elected as a Royal Academician 1959 – 1962 Royal College of Art, London, ARCA Silver Medal
Famously neglected by art institutions for decades until his Tate Gallery retrospective in 2019, his work is now highly sought after. On leaving the Royal College of Art in 1962 with the Silver Medal (Hockney won the Gold) and after two exhibitions in London, he was fed up with being pigeonholed as a Caribbean artist, so moved to New York in the mid 1960s where he was soon recognised as an artist in his own right and had his first solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971. He went on to win two Guggenheim Fellowships and now has work in major collections such as the MET and MOMA in New York and the Tate in London.
In his contribution to Cure3, My Cup Runneth Over, Bowling continues his practice of pouring paint over a surface; in this case, the Perspex cube. Occasionally, he blends tea leaves into the gel he uses in his paintings, adding a natural element to his works. The artist uses the title, a famous biblical phrase, in a literal sense as the paint swirls over the cube, creating abstract, stain-like forms, as if it has been spilled over by an overflowing cup. The abstract expressionistic style of the paint contrasts starkly with the ready-made teapot and teacup inside the cube and their connotations of the small rituals of daily life. The Perspex cube both showcases and entraps the objects, which combined with the paint and opaque top of the cube renders the everyday comfort of tea inaccessible. Bowling thus creates an uncanny artwork where our perception of the mundane is altered, a poignant comment on our tendency to take many aspects of life for granted. This is articulated by the title of the work, which can be interpreted as “I have more than enough for my needs".