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Who's Afraid of Barney Newman

Frank Bowling

Who's Afraid of Barney Newman

Frank Bowling
  • Date: 1968
  • Style: Color Field Painting
  • Genre: abstract
  • Media: acrylic, canvas

Bowling’s early work was figurative, but he later became an abstract painter, and this work falls between the two periods. As the title’s reference to the great abstract painter Barnett Newman suggests, it might be seen as a humorous skit on Abstract Expressionism. A Newman-like composition of vertical stripes is altered by the intrusion of a stencilled map of South America. Bowling was born in British Guiana (later Guyana) and this was one of several images he used which referred to his home. The colouring may also refer to his ethnicity as they are the colours of Rastafariansim: red for the blood of those killed for the black community, green for the vegetation and gold for the wealth of Africa.

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