“Unusual Narratives” satiating the surrealistic deep appetite with Steve Bowersock and the fantastical whimsy of Carey Armstrong-Ellis is what’s on tap at Bowersock Gallery for the Labor Day Weekend show. Carey takes us on a journey into past remembrances as Steve pulls us into memory, but as well into other dimensions of being. They both have a tight hand which expertly navigates the canvas giving a realistic portrayal of all subjects, whether or not of this “earth.” Carey chooses to play with everyday toys and Steve uses his deliberate strokes to delve into other realms; bringing the realistic subject on a journey into the surreal.
In 1999, Armstrong-Ellis decided to try her hand at illustration based on a story she’d written coupled with her daughter’s obsessive collecting habit. Here’s where Carey turned to paper and paint for the first time and shortly thereafter Harry N. Abrams, Inc., picked up her work releasing it, to the public, in 2002. Her illustrations, using gouache and colored pencil or acrylics, are quite humorous - “The darker and more skewed the better,” she says. Then there’s the recent dabble into oils, setting up toys and other objects gleaned from her own, somewhat obsessive, collecting habit. She imagines what her toys might be doing while she’s not around - going on adventures, attacking one another, trying to escape from her over-crowded studio.
Carey brushes the canvas by tickling the funny bone, unequivocally capturing the imagination of the child in us all. Memory lane can be quite the feast!
Steve Bowersock rejected a world where a painting of Elvis on velvet was considered priceless art. He fled his early Ohio Steel Mill, blue collar existence in pursuit of an artists’ life after a stint in the Marines. Desert Storm may have taught him discipline, but the opportunity to view the great artists in Europe truly fueled his commitment to study and develop artistic abilities which had been gestating, at a slow burn, since childhood.
Bowersock uses the Still Life to reflect relationships between objects; movement is reflected by use of the human body as reference. As his work continually morphs you see a tripping of the mind from the natural to the personal; a dreamscape. He contemplates subject matter which lies beyond comprehension, like trying to grab onto nature’s hidden heartbeat. “It’s about tapping into the imagination, into a feeling which is an ongoing exploration of the seen and what lies just beyond minds’ eye. These place places hold great fascination, yet they are where we most hesitate to go…fearlessly through the doors of dream world.” His startling use of color rouses in us a contemplative unease creating an enigma to solve. The canvases of single or grouped structures stir disquieting feelings, underscoring their larger intent.
As both the curator of Bowersock Gallery and an inspired artist, Bowersock says, “Art is not a living, it is life itself.”
Join us for a provocative look-see down the rabbit hole and concurrently into childhood memory.