Get Visual: Michelle Bowen’s Solo Exhibition at ACCR
A unique concept drives the current solo exhibition titled Huelitic Code: Language Through a Prism, which features prints and paintings by Michelle Bowen at the Arts Center of the Capital Region through February 2nd.
Bowen has invented a system of colors associated with letters, something akin to automatic writing, in that it decides for her what colors to use in each work of art. The majority of her paintings are clean, geometric designs that nest series of stripes in symmetrical arrangements that use her system to represent short sets of related words (while some comprise asymmetrical series of tiny squares that represent longer texts).
I don’t know what method Bowen used to determine which colors represent each letter – it appears random – but it’s certain the resulting paintings would look very different if that set-up were changed. Whatever the basis of choice, the word-derived images are often very appealing as color studies, but can also be slightly confounding. For example, Bowen has produced a set of smaller works that each represent a color by name, but the colors assigned to the letters follow the code, not the color being represented. So, in one instance, the painting that represents “blue” has no blue in it.