Tate Britain

Curated by Elena Crippa and Laura Castagnini

“What am I supposed to be expressing anyway?” wondered Frank Bowling, the Guyana-born British painter, in a 1974 letter to Clement Greenberg, who replied: “I can’t answer any of yr questions about art.” But Bowling already knew that. For six decades, he has endeavored not to answer the question, but to find new ways of asking it, pouring, dripping, and collaging to convey his vivacious, edgeless imagination. Consider the epochal “Map Paintings,” 1967–71, whose lambent, tropical color fields bear the phantom contours of the Southern Hemisphere and the Middle Passage: visions forcedly at home with unsettledness. Both timely and overdue, Bowling’s first major retrospective will cover everything from his early figurative work and Pop forays to his recent, and ongoing, pursuit of total, intimate, borderless abstraction.