Frank Bowling (British, born Guyana 1936)
Acrylic on canvas
H. 83 3/4 x W. 72 1/8 in. (212.7 x 183.2 cm)
Gift of Maddy and Larry Mohr, 2011
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Night Journey belongs to Bowling’s Map series, a group of mostly abstract paintings composed of broad fields of color into which the artist placed the continents of Australia, South America, and Africa. Here, the barely discernible shapes of South America, in red at center left, and Africa, in blue and pink at center right, hover in a luminous but moody composition, which he created primarily by pouring various layers of diluted paint onto his canvas while adeptly controlling the final staining effect. The yellow area evokes the Atlantic Ocean and, more significantly for Bowling, the Middle Passage, the forced sea journey endured by enslaved people taken from West Africa to the Americas and West Indies.