DB’s new series 2024 explores the land in Marking the Boundaries. Swaling 1 (above) placed in beautiful collection in Crete. Despite the setting surrounded by azure seas, water is an issue for the islands as summer temperatures soar. As a child, Day observed the ‘marking off’ of the land for controlled moor fires. She continues to engage with global concerns from climate change to migration. As ever Day brings energy and passion to the canvas finding the poetry within however tough the subject.

Day Bowman : The Power of Painting : December 2023
Carey Blyth Gallery Oxford

Day Bowman : Seaside Citadels : June 2021 Bermondsey Project Space London

Our coastal boundaries appointed with castles and fortresses of old, protected us for hundreds of years against invaders from foreign lands. The geography of an island nation worked in our favour. Those citadels of stone that spangled cliff tops looking out across the seas, were long ago abandoned, but their ruins remain as reminders to us of past invaders and would-be victors. That sense of vulnerability has not been dispelled. Our borders are now politically fortified in a bid to control the complexities of global migration. The layering of history and politics, like the littoral shoreline of sand, sea and sky is constantly in flux.

Reflecting upon her personal life journey through a poetic response to the beauty of nature, Bowman captures the play of light on wet sands, but does not shy away from the contentious issues of global politics that underpin and impact our transient lives. All is captured in her beautiful paintings of Fortresses and Seaside Citadels.

Combining the fine art of drawing with that of painting comes naturally to her. Bowman’s abstract expressionist paintings, in charcoal and conte over oil on canvas, are mille feuille - complex yet fluent, strident and charged, they intuitively balance the brittle notes of humanity against the fragility of endeavour.

For all of us together on this earth, the catharsis of walking barefoot along the shoreline, is primal - the criss-cross of shallow incoming tides erasing our sadnesses like footprints from Plashy Places. For Day Bowman, returning to the coastal landscape of her childhood, it is manna for the soul. As we release ourselves to the elements, we find a path to peace and healing.

Curated by Jenny Blyth in association with Bermondsey Project Space Catalogue available (£10)

DAY BOWMAN : Plashy Places Carey Blyth Gallery , Oxford.

How deeply are etched within us our childhood memories - where time stood still, the days unending, where our sources of delight and adventure were imbued with a sense of wonder, where everything felt yet to be discovered.

Day Bowman’s childhood days were spent in the Somerset town of Minehead, and it is the landscape of that unassuming post-industrial beach town that forms the bedrock for her painting. Her hometown was recorded in the Domesday Book but dates back to the Bronze Age. Strategically located on the coast, it grew from busy trading post in the 1500s to industrial town of the 1800s shipping herring, wool, cattle and coal to Bristol, Wales and Ireland. Industry fell away to larger ports, leaving a detritus of abandoned mining and industrial ‘architecture’. With a new railway line and a pier, Minehead re-emerged as a fashionable Edwardian seaside resort, and remains today a bucket-and-spade summer holiday destination.

There is an echo to the ’layering’ in this coastal town that we see in Bowman’s work. Her paintings are complex. Her skill is the alchemy of juxtaposing the different elements that command her attention, composing abstract paintings that are balanced and fluid. There is terrific strength and confidence in her work. Movement abounds. She balances blocks of black with trapeziums of rust, where ribbons of colour and charcoal encircle pools of light, and scribbled hearts and footprints belie the depth of darker planes and corners.

It is the behind-the-scenes landscape of a ghosted industry and deserted winter beaches that fire her imagination. Bowman’s paintings are experiential - Urban Wastelands resonate with the echo of footsteps - running ‘tag’ through giant concrete tunnels, the plink of metal on metal, the dynamic and drama of a wasteland tableaux that characterized ‘playgrounds’ for children of the sixties.

Bowman returns to the beaches of childhood in her recent paintings of Plashy Places. Wet sand glistens as the incoming and receding tides of ‘Flood and Ebb’ erase calligraphic marks etched momentarily into surface, where the pooling of seawater and reflections play out in oil on canvas. Capturing the abandon of play, Bowman recalls W B Yeats’ Man From Faeryland, who, careworn with the fears and concerns of adulthood, observes the humble lugworm rising to the surface, singing of higher places and golden skies …

Bowman’s new and larger paintings of Holiday Destinations I, II & III combine elements of both beach and wasteland. A ribbon of sky blue colours up against rust and golden ochres, where spectrums of ghost whites and greys ignite against the drama of a black backdrop.

While her post-industrial abstractions resonate with rigour and dynamic, sculpting shape and movement across the canvas, so Day Bowman’s beach paintings of Plashy Places capture the magic and beauty of the littoral shoreline, a perpetual dance between sea and land - that tangential, kinetic point at which figuration and abstraction play out. Text by Jenny Blyth©March 2020

Day Bowman : Alchemy : January 2015 Art Jericho Oxford

DB “There is a kind of cruel beauty in the destruction we create - for me, the oil depot, stacked piping and overhead cables have superseded the rivers and hills of the traditional picturesque.”

Painting is central to my practice as an artist. By this, I do not mean that it is to the exclusion of all other activities such as drawing, collage and printmaking that are integral to the work that I produce on canvas. As a painter, I work in series which allows me to focus and explore the subject in depth.”

Day Bowman is emerging as one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary painters. Drawing inspiration from post industrial landscape, Day has written her own alphabet and language of painting. You can clearly distinguish the origins for her gestural marks that refer back to a childhood spent exploring urban wastelands, a landscape that continues to excite and inspire her. Flat colour planes, ink spills and ribbons of colour interleave symbols that once were gasometers, containers and huge concrete piping. Perfected over years, Day creates abstract expressionist paintings that are charged and fluid - dynamic in form and joyous in palette.

Day Bowman : Urban Wastelands : 2010-12

Urban Wastelands Project toured South West in 2011/12. It started its UK tour at the Black Swan Arts as part of the Frome Arts Festival in July 2011, then toured to Dorchester Arts Centre, Kelly Ross Fine Art at The Art Stable, Dorset and travelled on to Quay Arts, Isle of Wight in February 2012. Currently showing at Atkinson Gallery, Somerset.

Day Bowman : Belief and Beyond : March May 2012 Barclays Bank Galllery Piccadilly London

Prizes & Collections

In 2019 Day Bowman was the Winner of the Anima Mundi International Painting 2019 at Venice Biennale 2019; awarded First Prize for Painting in Bath Arts Open 2019; and won First Prize in the Wales Contemporary 2019. A graduate of Chelsea School of Art and London University, she has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions over 15 years touring in Museums across UK, Germany and China where in 2017 she showed with Contemporary Masters from Britain. In 2012 she was commissioned to create giant hoardings across Weymouth to mark the Olympic Sailing.

‘Tearing up the Rule Book’, a solo international exhibition at Westminster Reference Library London and Atelier Melusine France was praised by critics and bloggers at its London showing in March 2019 and Artlyst gave coverage in October 2019: melusine

Day’s work is held in international Private and Public Collections including : Hilton Hotel Group; British Dental Association; Dorset County Hospital; St. Vincent and Grenadines Govt. Art Collection; he Priseman Seabrook Collection, and the Yantai Art Museum Collection China.