Any interaction with the art of Natasha Bowdoin is sure to offer an immersive experience marked by a bold sense of color, depth and pattern.
In her new exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the artist brings her interest in botanical prints, children’s books, textile design and mythology to the Carter’s collection of 19th century paintings and works on paper. The older works provide the inspiration for a completely new body of work, the centerpiece being a large-scale multilayered structure, In the Night Garden, made of paint on board with cut paper and vinyl mounted on movable supports resembling theatrical scene backdrops.
Bowdoin’s iconography features larger-than-life botanical motifs, which, though inspired by scientific studies, are line-driven and painted with a range of colors not found in the originals.
Her leaves, petals and flowers are otherworldly visual passages that challenge traditional associations of femininity with the passive floral motifs that originally served as instructions to women on how to dress and behave. This opens up the possibility for transformation and change such that Bowdoin’s bold ecosystem offers a seductive hint of danger all its own.
As an alternative to attitudes still quite prevalent today, the cultural relevance of an installation like this one makes for a compelling aesthetic proposition.
Natasha Bowdoin’s “In the Night Garden” is on view through December. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-738-1933. cartermuseum.org.