Kirsten Bowen is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design. From 1989 to 1992, she worked in New York City as a carpet and textile designer for clients including Elizabeth Eakins and the Plaza Hotel. She then began her own textile design business, creating designs for children’s clothing and representing other artists. From 1995-2003 Bowen had a mural painting and decorative finish business in Columbus Ohio that inspired the techniques that she uses in her fine art for which she is known.
In 2003 Kirsten opened the Kirsten Bowen Gallery in Bexley Ohio, showcasing paintings, photography, and sculpture by Ohio’s rising artists. The gallery was called “possibly one of the city’s most important galleries” by the Other Paper.
Returning to NYC in 2013, Kirsten has been at the easel full time and is proud to be represented by Grid Furnishings in Columbus Ohio, the Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland Ohio and Apropos showroom in the New York Design Center, and Guangmi Enterprises in Shanghai, China.
Bowen’s solo exhibit at the Coral Springs Museum of Art in Coral Springs Florida ran the month of December 2014. Her extensive exhibition titled “Because I Said So” featured her largest painting to date and her paintings filled 7 galleries that make up the east gallery of the museum. Her work has appeared in ArtNews museum announcements in October November and December of ’14.
Currently, Bowen’s work is featured at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, in a solo exhibition in the Eykamp pavillion through the Begley Art Source. The exhibition runs from August 6th to November 4th 2015.
Kirsten has been awarded the Reserve at Lake Keowee’s Community Foundation’s Artist in Residency for the upcoming 2016 year.
The goal of my work is to interpret a wide range of literary expression through visual art, thereby adding a new dimension to painting. The literal content includes lyrics, poetry and prayer on the deep and soulful side, and schedules, artificial ingredients, and side effects on the quirky side.
The medium is “Venetian Fresco” a technique I developed with colored Venetian plasters. I first prepare the canvas with an underpainting of colored plaster, then score in guidelines. Depending on the nature of the content, I pencil in the text to allow precise diction, or simply begin to paint the words to ramble on and off the canvas. When the canvas is completely built up with plaster I consider the words of Eugene Delacroix… “One always has to spoil a picture a little bit, in order to finish it.” A gloss varnish is applied to the peaks of the texture to create an amplified luster, and occasionally the work is left unvarnished when a matte finish is desirable.
Some of the work falls into an abstract landscape, something that happened accidentally on my first piece. Other paintings are bands of color, or are monochromatic. Most recently elements of the human figure have been a focus, revealing a zoomed in perspective of body and face. These new challenges have taken my work to a new level, as I hadn’t expected my medium to create such detail.
Though I wrestle with the importance of legibility, reading the painting to buyers adds a level of intimacy that is rewarding.