December 8, 2001
By Cate McQuaid
from an article, "Painters Cast Gaze Skyward" published in The Boston
Out on a limb
Paul Bowen looks
not to the sky but to the sea for his material - driftwood. Bowen, who was born
in Wales and lives in Provincetown, crafts abstract sculpture from found wood.
As with Lambert's paintings, there's the sense of a fractured landscape in this
artist's sculptures, many of which start with a shelf that can be read as a horizon
line. And like Lambert, Bowen sticks with a particular lexicon of elements: Circles,
wedges, and a brawny L-shape that recalls the silhouette of a fishing boat.
untitled piece features white-painted disks with slots gouged out of them. They
flip up and over piles of wedges, like the moon rising and setting, occasionally
biting into a block of wood. Piling chunks of wood is new for Bowen; his sculptures
used to have a simpler, more elegant composition. Yet the piles don't quite come
across as clutter; there's balance, mixed with the occasional sense that everything
is about to fall apart, which gives these works a pleasing tension. The best piece
in the show, which also includes black-and-white drawings, is nonetheless the
most spare: Five of the L-shapes and one straight plank project from the wall.
From the side, they might be boats moored in a harbor. From any other vantage
point, they're abstract and kicky; they flirt with the viewer and give the wall
SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE TENSIONS
August 30, 2002
By Cate McQuaid
from an article published in The Boston Globe
PROVINCETOWN - Paul
Bowen, a sculptor from Wales, has lived in Provincetown for 25 years, and he makes
the detritus of the sea his material. Bowen combs the beach early every morning,
bringing home driftwood and crafting it into sculptures, which are also on view
at the DNA Gallery. There's something about the rough, splintered quality of wood
coughed up by the ocean that can't be tamed. And Bowen doesn't try to. His forms,
sometimes painted or covered with tar, celebrate and explore the medium. Bowen
aims for the balance and juncture that these planks once found in a boat's hull.
"Wedges Stack" features triangular pieces of wood piled on a plank,
which balances on a chunk of wood bolted to the wall. The piece appears to rock
slightly; it's a precarious but precise construction. "The Blue One"
joins giant wooden disks into the skeleton of a sphere. He paints part of it blue
but doesn't disguise the scars and rusty staples in each fragment. "The Blue
One" has the air of an old lion, battered but still kingly.