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Plastic Primitive (May-Nov 2017)

A collection of sculptures, drawings and photographs from a collaboration with Los Angeles based artist James Gilbert - over 6 months.

This project is the culmination of an on-going conversation between the two artists and their individual studio practices. For the first time, the artists have proposed a joint residency together in France where all work is created along side each other, in response to each other, specifically for this exhibition.


This dialogue between the two artists marries the language and structures of primitive visual forms with images from contemporary pop culture. Setting in play contradictory elements - objects of symbolic meaning used for ritual and cultural identity versus objects devoid of meaning - the products of consumerist pop society such as plastic toys, games and cartoons. 


How has the identity of a daily use object changed? From hand-carved wood to mass produced painted metal and plastic materials, this « evolution » reflects the advancement in innovation and mechanization. But it is also a shift from permanent to temporary or disposable.


Hence, there is an interest in defining a period of our collective history and cultural understanding. Drawing from the vitality and power of primitive tribal art and the banal objects of pop culture, both artists seek to compress these apparently opposing elements into objects of meaning and humour.


“(the idea of the primitive is …) the conscious search in history for a more deeply expressive, permanent human nature and cultural structure in contrast to the nascent modern realties.” Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive


Gilbert has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums in The United States, Asia, South America and Europe. This is his first show in France. Bowden has exhibited extensively in Europe and the South Pacific.

please look under the Books section for the Plastic Primitive Colouring Book and 'Paris Street Painting' book. 

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