Chuck Bowdish’s visionary figurative work in various media describes a miraculous world inhabited by women, children, angels, mobsters, soldiers and police, where innocence struggles with evil. In Bowdish’s mysterious universe, autobiography, 1960’s political history, and classical myth converge. Bowdish’s work speaks to a range of contemporary figuration from the languorous youth in Christoph Ruckhäberle’s paintings, to the torn Xerox collage canvases of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the children’s book sci-fi cosmology of Henry Darger. Yet the classical virtuosity of his draftsmanship and his stark painterly iconography, link him to Giorgio De Chirico, Mario Sironi, Pavel Tchelichev and neo-classical period Picasso.
Bowdish, now was born in Ohio in 1959. His father was a Vietnam-era Air Force fighter pilot and his mother, an amateur painter and schoolteacher, who taught him how to draw at a young age. Bowdish attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, and in the 1980’s studied painting at the New York Studio School with Bruce Gagnier, Nicolas Carone, Peter Agostini, Gretna Campbell, and others.
In 1986, Bowdish began working as an illustrator with The New York Times and Fortune magazine in New York, eventually winning two scholarships: the Edgar Whitney Scholarship and the George Spavena Sculpture Scholarship as he continued to pursue sculpture and painting independently in downtown New York.
After spending time in Mexico, Chuck moved back to New York in 1991, enrolling at the New York Academy of Art on a full scholarship. While studying at the Academy, Bowdish drew from classical sculpture, created figure paintings, and studied human anatomy. Presently the artist is still living and working in Brooklyn, New York, expecting his first solo-show in January of 2012.
SHFAP presented a solo exhibition of Bowdish’s paintings in June of 2009. In November of 2009, we presented a show of Bowdish’s watercolors in conjunction with Coleman Bancroft LLC. In 2010 and 2011, we presented his work at the New York Art Book Fair at P.S.1, featuring his artist’s book American Dream with his painted journals. Bowdish lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.