EXHIBITION SOLO SHOW 6th DECEMBER to 14th JANUARY
Eclectomania - Tribal Pop Fetish
Welcome to the work of Garth Bowden
During the early 1900s, the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European artists who formed an avant-garde in the development of modern art.
While these artists knew very little of the original meaning and function of the African and other primitive sculptures they encountered, they instantly recognised spiritual and compositional qualities that acted as a key, allowing them to go beyond the naturalism that had defined Western art since the Renaissance.
In 1907, Picasso experienced a "revelation" while viewing African art at the ethnographic museum in Paris, the Palais du Trocadéro. This encounter impacted his work for the rest of his life. He was not the only artist influenced by African and Oceanic art - Modigliani, Matisse, Gauguin, Klee, Basquiat, Bacon, Leger and many others fell under its spell.
The tide of influence moves in both directions
While European artists revelled in the discovery of primitive art, colonisation took with it ideas and artefacts, and in return filled the vacuum left behind with its own ideologies and consumeristic influences. Globalisation has resulted in universally known icons and brands.
We could say that idol worship and spiritual ritual have been largely replaced by brand obsession and the ritual of shopping. Contemporary tribes are defined by consumer choices. The global might of the entertainment industry and large corporations spread their influence worldwide, and result in a cultural homogeneity. Mickey Mouse is one such soft power ambassador.
It seems fitting on Mickey’s 90th anniversary, to partake in this Disney fever. I am not an ardent Mickey ‘fan’, but I am fascinated by the power of an image - and how it can be broken down and reduced to very basic components and still be recognisable. Those two black spheres are instantly recognisable almost anywhere in the world. They contain the immutable essence of Mickey. The magic of the Disney dream, whatever that is