Sarah Bowling (b. 1993) hails from her beloved, mountainous home of Denver, Colorado. In 2016, she received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on fiber art and sculpture. Bowling is represented by RULE Gallery in Marfa, TX and Denver, CO. Her work has been exhibited nationally including LVL3 (Chicago, IL), RULE (Marfa, TX & Denver, CO), and The Miller ICA (Pittsburgh, PA). Bowling has also participated in numerous residencies, including The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Tough Art Residency (Pittsburgh, PA) and a two year residency at RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO). Bowling currently works and lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is pursuing an MFA at Carnegie Mellon University where she was awarded the Lea Simonds Fellowship.
As I lie in the tub and the last inch of water drains, I am reminded of the weight of my body. What was just submissively floating, now presses firmly against the walls of the tub, and I remember the power within this mechanism that is my body. In my work, I explore the power dynamics embedded within relationships, the thresholds of the body, and the ways in which our bodies seep.
I am interested in the malleability of bodies, the continuous cycle of becoming and unbecoming, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Through painting, sculpture, and bodybuilding, I explore the degree to which “bodies” can be pushed and manipulated while still maintaining their integrity. An archway doubling as gravestone, linked cinder blocks relying on each other's weight for equilibrium, and a body transformed into the unfamiliar through exercise and diet utilize multiplicity and illusion to become. My work acknowledges strength in the weighted and the weightless, the inhale and the exhale, and reminds me of the potential agency that is my body.
Playfully exposing my vulnerabilities and surrendering myself as an art object, I obscure the roles of viewer and voyeur. The viewer is tricked by the facade of innocent imagery, such as clouds, flowers, and archways, only to discover they function as surrogates for bodies. I am curious how bodies remember touch, specifically the overlap of touch associated with intimacy and trauma. In my work, an inner tube quickly returns to its spherical shape after being stretched open, while cast concrete permanently takes the shape of its prior womb. The perpetual limbo between being embraced/restricted, revealed/hidden, and autonomous/dependent is where my work finds traction.