Roy Fowler - New Wave
Fort Gansevoort is pleased to present “New Wave,” an exhibition of abstract wave paintings by Roy Fowler. The exhibit will open on Thursday, September 29 and be on view through Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the gallery in the Meatpacking District.
Adam Shopkorn, co-organizer of Fort Gansevoort was first introduced to Mr. Fowler’s work through the artist Mary Heilmann, who has a painting by Mr. Fowler hanging in her Bridgehampton house. Shopkorn immediately invited Fowler to present new paintings saying “I wanted to show these paintings that began to mesmerize me.”
Born in 1952 in Santa Barbara, Fowler moved to New York in 1976, after studying at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has lived in the same studio on Walker Street, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, ever since.
Mr. Fowler grew up fascinated equally by the ocean and by art. His memories of the two are intertwined. He learned to surf when he was eight years old and has continued with a lifetime of immersion in the ocean on both coasts.
“When I was a kid, I would get so excited getting surfing magazines in the mail,” Mr. Fowler continued. “I thought, maybe I could get some of that excitement in a painting as well. That was my starting point for this ongoing body of work.”
For his show at Fort Gansevoort, Fowler has created a new series of small and large format oils and watercolors. Developing a process of transferring his initial watercolor drawings, Fowler allows paint to have a life of its own in the larger canvas format, letting “borrowed images from nature” take on new directions. He finds the color and structure of his paintings by breaking down the components of a wave: where the color of the sky reflects on the surface of the wave and where the light goes through the water and refracts from the sand bottom. The lightness and colors emerge giving them, as Fowler states, “a kind of memory that is embedded in the surface.”
When asked about how working in his Chinatown studio relates to his interest in the ocean, the artist said: “The city is a barrier between myself and the ocean. It provides an insulating effect, and encourages me to spend more time in the studio,” he explained.