The experimental gallery Parse Seco will be hosting Thomas Bowers's reception "Here Lies My Creativity" on Saturday (Feb. 2) from 5 to 7 p.m.Albuquerque artist Thomas Bowers said he has …
The experimental gallery Parse Seco will be hosting Thomas Bowers's reception "Here Lies My Creativity" on Saturday (Feb. 2) from 5 to 7 p.m.
Albuquerque artist Thomas Bowers said he has been drawing as long as he can remember. His early illustrations were castles and stick figures, but now, in the heart of Arroyo Seco, he will be exhibiting his first solo show.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, "Here Lies My Creativity" is based on a drawing Bowers created for what he believed to be the dearly departed.
"At one point when I was drawing I was so discouraged with my art," he said. "I was not satisfied, it was kind of a never-ending loop of me drawing and not liking it. It went on for about a month so I made a drawing about that," he said.
The finished image was a gravestone that read, "HERE LIES MY CREATIVITY." Bowers was overcome with grief that he wouldn't be able to create again before Parse Seco experienced his work. Cecilia Cuff, operating director, and Joel Meinholz, gallery director and curator, then offered Bowers an artist residency.
"Parse Seco asked if I wanted to do a show and I thought that's a perfect opportunity for me to use that [gravestone drawing] and kind of flip it around," Bowers said. "So when people go to the show they can see what I create instead of my creativity being dead," he said.
While the young Bowers is self-taught, he has developed peculiar techniques for entering his creative process. He often draws with his eyes closed and performs quick hand motions and one-line contours for the more abstract works. However, his methods and artistic nature are still evolving.
With a fickle artistic style, Bowers's works range from abstract expressionist to the surreal and even cubist. He is only using primary colors as well as black and white. Irony isn't found only in the title of the show, but also in many of his pieces. There is a cultivated childlike quality and an underlying sense of humor in his illustrations. His works display caricature-like subjects and abstract characters that seem to transform using rudimentary lines and complex arrangements. He often creates patterns in triballike repetition and he also applies conventional shapes to create the illusions of interiors or urban landscapes.
"It's hard to describe Thomas's art besides brilliant. In my opinion his creations are reminiscent of modern expressionism in an innocent form," wrote Cecilia Cuff in an email.
Bowers estimates the show will include nearly 30 works. A mixture of mediums, drawings, acrylic paintings, sculpture and painted, repurposed furniture. A few pieces to be featured are a set of painted chairs and some curiously painted wood from a lumberyard portraying a cityscape. There will be also be several new pieces created while in residency as well as some older, unrevealed works.
The nonprofit Parse Seco, which opened in 2016, has been known to push boundaries and stray from the standard Southwest, commercial art that dominates Taos. The partnership with Bowers and Parse Seco has been in the works for nearly two years and the gallery is eager to present yet another artist that shares its journey down the primrose path from the conceived standards of traditional art.
"The reason we were so interested in hosting Thomas is because his work seems very much the product of growing up drowning in the traditional Southwestern landscapes and portraits and divorcing that habit before it became a lifestyle," Cuff said. "Thomas Bowers, barely turning 20, was seemingly a reincarnation of an old soul from a much more statement-driven, disciplined, urban and experimental time period in art," she said.
Prior to Parse Seco, Bowers has exhibited in group shows with The Mothership Alumni, an arts organization in Albuquerque, as well as designed artwork and merchandise for Filter Skate Shop in Albuquerque. He was previously commissioned by the city of Albuquerque for a painted piano. He is intent to continue making contemporary art. He yearns to learn new techniques, become more familiar with various art movements and pursue university. His current goal is to attain a studio space. He is not only a visual artist, but a skilled skateboarder.
As always Parce Seco encourages and invites all members of the community to come out and show support.
"Community support is the difference between having a space for an artist to have their first show and a space to have a show being an unattainable dream," said Cuff.
Parse Seco is located at 487 State Road 150 in the village of Arroyo Seco. Call (312) 593-3948 or visit parseseco.com.
For more information, check out Thomas Bowers's art on Instagram and Parse Seco's Facebook page.
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