I am trying to find something out there beyond the place on which I have a footing…like an inchworm on the edge of a branch, reaching out into space.
(Albert Pinkham Ryder)
Sea / Wall - Clay was my first medium. I began with basic, functional shapes and then gravitated toward hand building and sculpture. Fortunate to live by the sea, my early work was influenced by direct observation. Clay, soft and pliable in its original state lent itself to creating fluid forms, and when fired, the geometry of structures built to restrain the force of the sea.
My process over the years was to move from clay to pastel and later to paint, investigating the properties and challenges of each new medium. Still working from direct observation, my pastel drawings explored the fleeting light and color at the horizon, marks and lines created by the tidal flow, and later, the form and calligraphy of trees in the forest. Moving toward abstraction, I became involved with gesture and process and my interior landscape.
Rwandan Work - I interrupted my focus on nature for several years when I found myself obsessed with the Rwandan genocide. The violence that was present every day in the media enveloped me and I felt a need to respond, to “bear witness.” Using pastel, collage, and photographs I made images that expressed my horror at this catastrophe.
Windows - Living in NYC I began a series of structured and calligraphic paintings that I later realized related to the fragmented images I see through windows, glimpses of sky, trees, reflections, space framed and divided. This is an ongoing body of work.
In the Four Elements* painting series, I am entranced by the alchemy and transformation of nature. This work turns toward the unknown, mimicking the dynamics found in nature. The fluid layering and chance incident that occur in my painting process lead me back to my first inspirations and observations of the sea, a place where mark and line are created by the energy of wind over water, where light and color are in constant flux, a never-ending process of change, the work is in this way a record of impermanence.
I have received an NYFA and NEA grant; my work is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as well as many collections and galleries around the country.
Vivian Bower 2017
* Four Elements
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