Sydney Bowers (b.1989 Kalamazoo, MI) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a BFA in 2011 from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA in 2020 from the New York Academy of Art. Her work has been shown with Sugarlift and Tchotchke Gallery in New York City, and has been published in Harpers Bazaar Arabia.
My current body of work is inspired by the emotional cycle of self-loathing, punishment and eventual self acceptance- particularly as experienced by women. I appropriated the hand gestures from the female characters in Fra Angelico’s Annunciation. Amongst hand-made environments of broken crystal, silk robes, and lush foliage, I posed my own hands as the hands of God, the Virgin Mary and Eve. I am disrupting the hierarchy between the human form and still life objects.
Problem solving is what sets my paintings in motion. I construct illusions using everyday objects, colorful paper backdrops, easily adjustable lighting, fishing line, and every variety of tape. The task of creating my own set allows me to be in full control of my work, just as I meticulously prepare my painting surfaces and handpick my materials. This process is inextricable from the act of painting itself. My painting language is derived from the old masters; I start with a tonal underpainting and build transparent layers to achieve depth and jewel-like richness of color. I do not believe in limiting myself to the historical palette however, and love exploring modern pigments.
I combine ‘feminine’ subject matter with surrealist and minimalist languages, art movements traditionally regarded as masculine. I isolate my objects in stark, semi- illusionistic spaces that also read as contemplative color-fields, influenced by contemporary advertising. These precariously placed and hovering items indiscriminately vary from low-brow to luxury and from fully realized to a barely- there muteness. I create contemporary iconography that reminds us to forgive ourselves.
2021 Memento Mori, Sugarlift, NY, NY
2020 When Life Gives You Lemons, Tchotchke Gallery (online only)
Thesis Exhibition , NYAA, New York, NY Summer Exhibition, NYAA, New York, NY Milieu, NYAA, New York, NY
2019 Beneath Notice, NYAA, New York, NY
Residency Show, Kylemore Abbey, Galway, Ireland
Spring Copyist Celebration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
2018 Tracing Lineage, NYAA, New York, NY
2016 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair, Kalamazoo, MI