b. 1993, Boston, MA
Lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA
Sarah Bowling hails from her beloved, mountainous home of Denver, Colorado. In 2016, she received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on fiber art and sculpture. Bowling is represented by RULE Gallery in Marfa, TX and Denver, CO. Her work has been exhibited nationally including LVL3 (Chicago, IL), RULE (Marfa, TX & Denver, CO), and The Miller ICA (Pittsburgh, PA). Bowling has also participated in numerous residencies, including The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Tough Art Residency (Pittsburgh, PA) and a two year residency at RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO). Bowling currently works and lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is pursuing an MFA at Carnegie Mellon University where she was awarded the Lea Simonds Fellowship.
In her work, Sarah Bowling explores the constructs of desire: the expectations of sexuality and the phases of intimacy and vulnerability within relationships and the self. It is desire that gives shape to absence. Often veiled in defensive tones and sweet nothings, her art questions the disconnect of tenderness and solidity, the fragmentary self and the societal “whole”. Through the use of blunt statements, suggestive imagery, and material choice, her works both penetrate and restrict the tenuous expression of internal desires and the absent objects that give purpose to fantasy.
In her process, Bowling performs the acts of uncomfortable verbs such as puncturing, ripping, pouring, peeling, and cracking. Like most bodily matter, her work is playful, awkward, sensual, and gloppy. The bright colors are inviting yet repulsive. She consistently applies a mimicry of the push/pull dynamic between two bodies, the self and society, and contradictory themes such as triumph and defeat.
Bowling also looks to pop culture as a source of inspirational disgust. Reality TV shows, pornography, and sport culture bemuse her as they are filled with dissolute intentions, yet, as evidenced by their fans’ allegiance, they have power. She finds guidance in mundane objects as they are charged with meaning due to humanity’s everyday interactions and associations. Most prominent in Bowling’s work though are her own experiences: moments of intimacy, betrayal, bliss, longing, manipulation, and strength.
Bowling’s work is intended as a language for the human condition, meant to claim space in a way thoughts cannot. She is seduced by the way humans claim space daily, physically but more so emotionally: clothing advertising personal allegiances, the tendency to cling to a wall in a crowded space, or the internal monologue curating personal thoughts and emotions. These are acts of deceitfully claiming space or coping with the fear of taking up too much space. Her art is meant to tease, taunt, and confront its audience.