This is Fowler’s latest ‘drawn montage’, with the first two (‘Valentino’s Funeral’, 2009 and ‘A Real Allegory: Parts I and II’, 2011) having been acquired by public institutions in Switzerland and the USA. The ‘montaged’ aspect is formed from images collected by the artist over the last four years from a range of sources. These remain on her studio wall or are recalled from memory and are gradually pieced together to form the large-scale composition.
Citing Kenneth Anger’s ‘Hollywood Babylon’ as a formative influence, she pays due attention to what Anger called ‘the scalding reality behind the glittering facade of America’s dream factory.’ It is in this vein that Fowler’s work transcends the specific time-scape of these scenes, extending the limits of the flat, cinematic image, and revelling in the raw emotive depth contained within. These images are all the more powerful to a contemporary audience,
aware of the hidden depths behind the beauty, only ever a mouse-click away from stripping back the
smokescreen of fame.
‘She Shoulda Said No’ (the title of which is taken from the 1949 exploitation film) is also a celebration of
the theme of dance recurrent in Fowler’s work. For Fowler, drawing and dancing are synonymous in that
they are both voiceless forms of expression. “I want my drawings to have equal energy to their real-life
counterparts. I want them to have as much control over the paper they occupy as I do”. For the first time
Fowler has left her process exposed - drawn marks and rubbings are left ‘unfinished’ - creating a heightened
sense of drama in the work.
Other works in the exhibition include Fowler’s life-size ‘leaning boards’ – reconstructions of the off-screen
props on which film-starlets would rest between takes, in order to relax without crumpling their dresses.
These boards seemed to exist in a perpetual duality between their own mundanely mechanical weight and
the supposed lightness of the stardust they supported. The ‘Leaning Boards’ were originally displayed in a
large-scale installation as part of her solo exhibition at The Cob Gallery ‘That’s Right Mister and How’s
Your Fairytale Coming Along,’ in 2013.
Fowler’s singular amalgamation of three-dimensional and graphic forms have recently seen her exhibiting in
Paris, Hong Kong, Leipzig and London. Recently named Saatchi’s ‘One to Watch’, she has also been shortlisted
for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, the Aesthetica Prize and the Young Masters Prize. Born in London in
1981, she graduated with a First in Sculpture from Brighton University in 2003. Her work is admired and
collected by British film, music and fashion luminaries such as John Maybury, Jude Law, Sharleen Spiteri
and Caroline Issa. She recently exhibited in her first museum show as part of the group show “Starke Frauen”
(Strong Women) at Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg.