Emily Bowser is the second artist to participate in Telfair Museums’ annual call to artists Boxed In/Break Out, a museum-sponsored opportunity that invites artists to propose an original installation of artwork to invigorate the six large windows along the east side of the Jepson Center on Barnard Street.
Jaime DeSimone, Curator at MOCA Jacksonville and guest judge for Boxed In/Break Out, chose Emily Bowser’s submission from an eclectic variety of ideas in different mediums and styles. DeSimone wrote of Bowser’s proposal, “In her mixed media practice, Emily Bowser often engages with patterns found in a range of textiles, yet investigates their color, forms, and harmonies to offer new ways of seeing such simple textures. By removing plaid or fabric from its original form or object, Bowser distances her work from its inherent purpose to present alternative modes of enjoyment. It is here that Bowser embraces overlapping and woven lines to create syncopated rhythms in paint to activate six windows at the Jepson Center.
Building upon a signature style rooted in patterns and plaids, Bowser’s Boxed In/Break Out project consists of six canvases, perfectly sized for each window, where complex matrices in joyful colors reveal themselves. In each one, Bowser’s repetitive mark-making technique mimics the fabric construction of plaid. Such extraordinary patterns presents her ongoing fascination with textiles and mark-making as the final images pay homage to trompe l’oeil, an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Yet Bowser’s intent is not to trick the viewer into believing the paintings are in fact fabrics. Instead the artist revels in the possibilities of both material and detailed systems to paint a visual experience anew.
Emily Bowser is a recent Savannah transplant from Reading, Pennsylvania where she worked as a Children’s Art and Yoga Instructor. She also recently completed an artist residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Iowa. Her previous projects include a permanent public mural in her hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and completing an artist residency at the Taliesin Artist in Residence Program (TARP) at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. She had a solo exhibition in 2012 at Store Gallery, 3S ArtSpace in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and has participated in many juried and invited exhibitions.