Sarah Bowling

b. 1993

Sarah Bowling lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. Bowling received her BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows across the country, including Aggregate Space, Oakland, CA, Sullivan Gallery, and Archer Beach Haus, both in Chicago, IL among others. In 2017 she was selected to attend the ACRE Residency in Steuben, WI and in 2018 began her two year residency program at RedLine in Denver, CO. Her work is in several private collections across the country.

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.