Drawing Resident: Siân Bowen
Artist in Residence, Drawing, 2006-2008
Siân Bowen is an artist whose primary medium is drawing, in the broadest definition of that term. Her work has an intimacy and immediacy that is often enhanced by using papers which have a history. She has made pieces incorporating fragments cut from 19th-century Florentine letters and documents, and has drawn on wallpaper retrieved from a redundant lighthouse - one of these works has been acquired for the collection.
Siân has also been influenced by her time living and working in Japan; a return visit in spring 2006 allowed her to carry out in-depth research into age-old but now vanishing treatments of paper such as oiling, smoking and dyeing.
Drawing is a process with the potential to reveal or conceal, and Bowen makes a virtue of this contradiction, often layering past and present. During the residency she will be focusing on drawing and its context, the intimate experience of handling the works in the V&A collections, and how the relationship between sight and touch might be translated through drawing. Her interest in the nature and qualities of paper, and in the life-histories of paper objects - especially things made to be handled such as albums, miniature folding books, patterns, and cut-paper work - has informed her latest work.
For Bowen this three year residency, co-hosted by the Paper Conservation Studio, was an opportunity to make new work in response to her explorations of the V&A's collections, her conversations with curators and conservators, and her use of historic drawing tools such as a Claude Glass. She shared her discoveries, experiences and insights through her blog A Journey within a Journey .
'Siân Bowen: Gaze', edited and introduced by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator, Word & Image Department and with essays by Tony Godfrey, Richard Cork and Pauline Webber. Cornerhouse Publications (Tel + 44 (0)161 200 1503) (Hardback, full colour, 104 pages, £13.00)