Frank Bowling: The Mother’s House Paintings

How can a house reflect migration’s arcs, its losses, and its gains? It is this quest for reconciliation that draws Grace Aneiza Ali into the mother’s house paintings by Guyanese-born British artist Frank Bowling OBE RA (b. British Guiana, 1934). Bowling’s practice for the past six decades has been defined by his expert weaving of autobiography and geographical subject matter into the formalist rigor of color abstraction. In tandem, his early figurative and abstract paintings informally regarded as the Mother’s House Paintings are defined by a singular motif: a 1953 photograph of the house he grew up in and often returned to—his mother’s house—in New Amsterdam, Guyana.