Brice Stan Bowman

Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1951, Brice Bowman moved to Napa, California at the age of eight. Intense interest in art early on. B.A. degree at San Francisco State, and a M.A. at Sacramento State. Videos and movies screened in Europe, South America, Asia, and the United States. Long periods of time in France when not in California (San Francisco or Los Angeles). Works distributed by Canyon Cinema http://canyoncinema.com

Image Gallery: 

Brice Bowman in Los Feliz California about 2006
Brice Bowman in Los Feliz California about 2006

Nationality: 

United States

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Short Biography

Born (Brice Stanley Jordan) in Kansas City, Missouri on June 10, 1951. His very early years were difficult ones travelling back and forth between Independence, Missouri and Sugar Hill, Georgia. He moved to Napa, California at the age of seven in 1958. A move he happy about. Soon after moving he attended Irene M. Snow elementary where even at a young age was far more capable at drawing than his classmates. For him art was not just about skill but it was a way of thinking. In addition to spending a lot of time drawing Brice Bowman was an avid reader in elementary school constantly checking books out of the library. His favorite topic was biography.  Once he got into junior high school as he began paint a lot and hung out in art stores reading the "How To" books on the shelf while in the store. He would memorize the information and return home to try out his new information. This continued into high school and during one day in a humanties class in the eleventh grade he decided to spend his life as an artist. He graduated from Napa High School on his birthday in 1969 and registered for the draft as was required.  After graduation he spent a lot of time in Berkeley and San Francisco. Every Friday night he attended concerts at the Fillmore in San Francisco. All during the Summer he wondered if he would be drafted into the army.  He preferred the Navy over the Army so he hitch-hiked to from Napa to Valljeo and with the advice of noone enlisted in the Navy with a deffered departure date in Ocotober 8, 1969. On that date he flew out of Oakland for San Diego where he went to bootcamp; afterwards he attened Hospital Corps School in Chicago and subsequently working as a Hospital Corpsman in Porstsmouth, Virginia and Taipei, Taiwan. during the Vietnam War.  He was discharged 1973 and used the G. I. Bill to earn a B.A. degree at San Francisco State, and a M.A. at Sacramento State in Painting and Drawing. After graduate school at Sac State he moved to Benicia, California where he opened a studio on East H street in an old steel mill. In this studio he made many large paintings, and his work started being included in many bay area and national shows, juried in by such people as Henry Hopkins the director at that time of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as Graham Beal the painting curator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In addition he began selling a lot of of his work.  After Benicia he rented a studio at 2571 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley where he shared with Elmer Bish where the two became friends working long hours painting late into the night.. For a year Brice Bowman also maintained a studio in San Francisco to be closer to the the downtown galleries. Thus he rented basement of an old hotel on Bush street just around the corner from the Hansen-Fuller-Goldein gallery at 228 Grant in San Francisco. Graham Beal and Brice Bowman had become good friends by this time and Graham Beal would bring groups of people over to see his paintings. Meanwhile Brice Bowman's paintings were more and more broadly exhibited in the bay area in important shows. One of his favorites was in 1986 when his work was paired up with Jay Defeo in a show at the Berkeley Art Center titled "Bay Area Modernism, Success or Failure". Brice Bowman work received strong reviews from such bay area critics as Charles Shere from the Oakland Tribune comparing Brice Bowman to Jackson Pollock. As a result of this exhibition Brice Bowman and Jay DeFeo became extremely close friends and remained so until her passing November 11, 1989.

 

In 1987 his work was included in a three-person exhibition "Introductions 87" at the Jeremy Stone Gallery in San Francisco. It was about this time that Brice Bowman began making frequent driving trips down Highway 5 to hang out in Los Angeles seeing a lot of art exhibitions. As a result of these visits in conjunction with the many group shows his paintings were in that included video art Brice Bowman began to want to make videos. He became interested in the flow of dots of colors and values flowing around on the screen. He had acquired a Mac IIci computer software where he was using Photoshop 2.5 to make digital art of which he was immediately having success exhibiting it. To help him break away from painting he decided to move to Los Angeles and opened a studio during the Summer of 1997 at 120 Vignes Street. Here he switched to fully concentrating on video art.  His first video was titled "Transitional Construction", a pun on his efforts to transition from using paint to make art on a stationary surface to an approach consisting of constructing art with moving images on a timeline.  In late late 1999 he submitted Transitional Construction to a curator in Italy and as a result Transitional Construction was exhibited in Europe giving him his first opportunity to exhibit his work outside of the United States. As the 20th century clicked over to the 21st century after a considerable amount of reading on filmmaking Brice Bowman began making movies using 16mm and 8mm cameras which he purcahsed off of ebay. His early films are Doll with Hole (2003), Answer to a Reply (2003), Forced Development (2004), Continuance Which Causes (2004), And Implications (2005), and Adieu le Belle (2007). Since turning from painting to filmmaker Brice Bowman's films have been screened in Europe, South America, Asia an the United States. After his film Adieu le Belle a very symbolic title he began to look to France which lead to him spending long periods of time in France where he made nine films during his long stays there. Today Brice Bowman lives and works in Los Angeles and through 2017 he has made 43 films.

 

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Director's Statement

Working from the premise of Picasso's statement that goes something like this, "if I could explain it I would be a writer, as it is I am a Painter". I am not a writer; but I am often asked to provide a Director's Statement. If possible I prefer not to. I prefer my work to stand alone and not be paired up with my inadequate words to explain it. I am a visual artist; not a writer. Having said all of this, a possible starting point might be to say that prior to becoming a filmmaker I spent many years making paintings. I did it well. I learned to think in paint. My work was in many art exhibitions in the United States. Although things were going very well I began to question the process of painting to visualize that which I sought after. So I considered other mediums.
I made Abstract Expressionist paintings inspired by artists like Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and others.
My initial interest in Abstract Expressionism was its connection Jungian and Freudian psychology and removal of realistic images; but after years of effort I could not see the evidence I was expecting to see when I finished a painting.
Thus my questions about painting was in my mind as I looked for another media. I saw a lot of Video Art in the group shows my work was in. I was affected by the sprinkling of dotes on the video monitor. I was so impacted by this that Painting as I knew it ended for me at that point. I would never again be soley a painter and would become principally a filmmaker.

To make a painting I would start out with a blank canvas and zero images and one by one make shapes with colors ending up with a certain number and arrangement to complete a painting.
Furthermore, my life as a painter was one of years alone in my studio standing in front of a canvas with my back to the world as it were. I made paintings focusing within myself. I attempted to visualize my self by way of colors, shapes, textures, and contours.
This changed when I made video art or films. I turned around away from just viewing the wall with my canvas on it as I painted and instead looked out into the world. As I see it by way of the process of a moving image capture process that is, the movie camera I start out with too many images and colors and use a process of isolating the ones that I need to edit out. I end up with less than I start out with. Just the opposite of painting.

It was like coming home to borrow Maya Deren's statement about filmmaking over poetry for her. I knew exactly what she was saying when she said that in a lecture.
With the use of a camera I was working with recognizable images rather than suggestions of images within the world of Abstract Expressionism.
I picked up an array of 8mm and 16mm cameras. I read all of the manuals and film and editing books I could find and taught myself how to make films. I was surprised that in making art with film that I was not starting from scratch and that I was still working with shapes inside a rectangle and gradually need to screw up the images and spray of dotes on the screen to discover the combination of abstraction and recognizable images that filled the void I had when I was a painter. Again to quote Maya Deren I came home when I switched to filmmaking particularly when it came to the editing process.

 

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Location: 

Los Angeles, California
United States
34° 3' 8.0424" N, 118° 14' 37.266" W

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