Artist: Bobby Dowler
Exhibition title: <<“100,000%!>>
Venue: Galería Alegría, Barcelona, Spain
Date: May 27 – July 16, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Galería Alegría, Barcelona
Does painting have limits? And, if it does, how do you know when you’ve reached them? Bobby Dowler (London, 1983) was faced with this dual conundrum when he had to deal with an involuntary creative impasse. To try and overcome this situation, the British artist, who has always worked with discarded materials, gathered some canvases he’d accumulated in his studio, and he got hold of some others which had been ditched by his painter friends, all in search of a material renewal that would ideally lead to similarly-renewed artwork. Furthermore, he came across a set of second-hand stretcher frames which, ultimately, would end up completing the raw material used for <<“100,000%!”>>, his new exhibition at Galería Alegría.
Using stretcher wood as a tool, cutting and patching up canvases, painting or using other people’s work: the artist laboured intensely, until he had a series of pieces that offered him new avenues for development. As such, in this new exhibition, Dowler organises his materials, blocking out large fields of colour that forcibly overlap or are decisively set against each other. This vigorous determination turns colour and form into primary, immediate compositions, in which his free and electrifying painting style has great dynamic impact.
Assemblages, superimpositions, cuts and joins become loaded with a new tension, adjusting to the vivid swathes of paint applied by the artist. Dowler thus finds the way for his painting-objects – as he refers to them – to take on new meaning, without losing their characteristic force. <<“100,000%!”>> is an ode to the abundance of a material that can have many lives, becoming reincarnated in multiple different works, but it is also a reminder of how important it is to pay attention to the form and needs of the matter in question during the process of creation. Far from resorting to dry theoretical reasonings, Bobby Dowler prefers to offer us a visual and material journey which is rich, intense and exciting. The honest questioning of the limits of his painting-objects has resulted in an emphatic and beautiful exhibition, which immediately connects with the audience in a way that only bold, adventurous art can.