Natasha Bowdoin's site-specific installation, Maneater, in on view at MASS MoCA through 2019
Mass MoCA | JANUARY 15, 2018
Maneater is a site-specific cut paper and collage installation. Bowdoin has done site specific installations before, such as those at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Roswell Museum and Art Center; the Portland Museum of Art; and at the Visual Arts Center, Austin, TX – but Maneater, living up to its name, is her largest work to date. Bowdoin’s work often explores the intersections of the visual with the literary, layering ribbons of hand-written text with cut-paper reliefs until a form appears that echoes the source text or texts. In this case, Bowdoin references Golden Age children’s book illustrations, 19th-century botanical drawings, floral textile patterns, lunar maps, and prints of underwater sea life. The larger-than-life installation wraps around a corner and extends onto the floor itself, inviting visitor to enter the piece. The beautiful blooms can appear, at times, almost cartoonish – but the piece’s title and scale seem to subvert that initial reading. Bowdoin seems to imply nature’s potential to be, by turns, enchanting, overwhelming, innocent, savage, a proving ground for science, an oasis for introspection, and a harsh wilderness.
Born in West Kennebunk, Maine, Natasha Bowdoin received her MFA from Tyler School of Art, PA, and a BA from Brandeis University, MA, in classics and studio art. She also completed studies at Slade School of Art, London. She was an artist-in-residence at The Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX from 2008-2010 and has completed additional residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, NE and the Roswell AIR Program, NM. Bowdoin is a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2007). Her work has recently been exhibited in solo museum and gallery exhibitions at the SCAD Museum, Savannah, GA and The Old Jail Art Center, Albany, TX. Select group exhibitions include shows at the Hardesty Arts Center, Tulsa, OK; the CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands; the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; and the Cue Art Foundation, New York, NY. Bowdoin lives and works in Houston, TX.
Maneater is on view in MASS MoCA’s first-floor Hunter Hallway through 2019 with an opening reception for the artist on March 24, 2018.