I was recently commissioned to create a site-specific work for my friend’s house in Puglia. The work could feature the olive tree growing in the wide courtyard facing the owners’ olive grove below. My friend suffers from macular degeneration and described to me how she could see sharply defined images and shapes while softer, less defined shapes appear as undecipherable fragments (an extreme example of the former would be Magritte, of the latter, Renoir or Seurat). Whether a picture is in colour, black and white, abstract or naturalistic, large or small was immaterial.
The required dimensions were 22” x 17” (56 x 43 cm) to fit a space you see when you enter the house. These are not the dimensions I normally work in. The image needed to be clean, simple and immediate. A collage of cut, not torn, pieces would make an interesting, easily visible image that would be recognisable as a landscape but with abstract textural elements. I often paint up pieces of paper using different paint effects with acrylics. I used a few I found in a shoebox full of coloured foil sweet wrappers and found objects (I collect these because they’re eye-catching and sometimes useful). With absolutely no preconceived idea about how they should look in the composition except that they should go on the bottom, I cut them into rough shapes which turned out to form a jigsaw hill. The tree shapes were also just random, earlier pieces of water-colour playfulness on large rectangles of paper.
Profile of the Artist: Lesley Bower ASGFA is a mixed media artist based in West London. She has drawn all her life and as a child produced endless images of colourful clothes. She began taking evening art classes in Richmond in the 1990s which triggered a career change. Lesley went to Camberwell to study Paper Conservation as it had a more practical approach, including the history of drawing and printmaking, than the Fine Art degrees on offer. Following her time at Camberwell Lesley studied under David Wiseman (London Group). Now living near the Thames Lesley exhibits with West London Artists and takes inspiration from Kew and Richmond Park. Her work is interested in intricacy and structure.
Lesley Bower was elected an Associate of the Society of Graphic Fine Art in May 2015.
For more information see: http://www.saatchiart.com/lesleybower