Left: Midden in process at Petrichor Press, Philadelphia, 2016. Photo: Astrid Bowlby.
About the Exhibition
Arcadia University Art Gallery is pleased to present “When the Shadow is Not Your Shadow”, an exhibition of recent work by Astrid Bowlby, an artist based in Philadelphia and Brooks, Maine. Recognized primarily for the biomorphic black line that distinguishes her drawings, prints, and room-filling installations, Bowlby has also developed an evolving body of sculpture employing a surprising array of materials that echoes the fluidity and expansiveness of her graphic work. Organized by Marginal Utility, a Philadelphia-based gallery founded in 2009 by artist David Dempewolf and curator Yuka Yokoyama, the exhibition is being presented at Arcadia in response to the June 26 fire that closed the building at 319 North 11 th Street that serves as the gallery’s base and remains closed indefinitely.
Bowlby’s exhibition is in many ways an extension of its title, which plays on the fruitful ambiguity of the possessive pronoun “your”, which she notes, “in English can be singular or plural, masculine or feminine”. The phrase demonstrates an inclusive, democratic condition that reflects how Bowlby perceives much of her work. The diversity of disciplines represented conveys her long-standing aspiration to present a solo show that could be perceived as a group exhibition. In addition to the aforementioned mediums, the project includes texts, a sound work, and photographs, as well as a black granite gravestone etched with a graffiti tag that will be placed in a meditation garden in Maine following the exhibition. Entitled Alternative Marker, the work grounds the show with the reality of personal mourning that prompted the overall project while affirming the ephemeral nature of a practice rooted in the irrepressible invention of drawing. As Bowlby has stated about any example of her primary medium: “It is just a drawing. This is important. It can be made again and will be made again. This touches upon the fleeting nature of things and the certainty of return. The drawing is a placeholder. Something and nothing. Special and ordinary. Repeatable, yet different every time.”
Marginal Utility is a small gallery based in Philadelphia that presents the work of locally and internationally recognized and emerging artists. Yuka Yokoyama and David Dempewolf founded the gallery in 2009 and have worked closely with artists at their space at 319 North 11th Street (a.k.a. the “Vox Building”), as well as their immediate art community and institutions through expanded programming at the ICA (“First Among Equals” 2012) and the Ice Box Space (“Unlisted” 2016) in Philadelphia. Marginal Utility also organizes the Machete Group, a theory-based discussion group that meets periodically and publishes Machete, a related ‘zine.
About the Artist
Astrid Bowlby makes drawings, prints, sculptures, and installations. She received an MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a BFA from the University of Southern Maine. She has also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and The Art Students League. Until recently she was a Resident Critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Bowlby has received three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships (for both works on paper and sculpture/installation), as well as a Leeway Award for Excellence and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
She has exhibited her work at the Drawing Center (New York), the Portland Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Bates College Museum of Art, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the Volta Contemporary Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland. Her work is in numerous public collections including the Arkansas Art Center, The Progressive Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Bates College Museum of Art, New York Public Library, and the Brodsky Center for Innovative Print and Paper at Rutgers University. She is represented by Gallery Joe, Philadelphia and Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston.