Denver native Sarah Bowling returned home from the Art Institute of Chicago with her BFA and fresh new ideas that she's introduced in the local art community over the past couple of years, drawing enough attention to earn her a spot in Rule Gallery's stable. As an incoming resident, she now brings a facility for interdisciplinary installation work to RedLine, bolstered by a pointed practice exploring the intricacies of human relations. Bowling epitomizes the reaching ideas and potential for growth that young artists bring to the Denver scene; get into her head via the Colorado Creatives questionnaire.
Westword: Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Sarah Bowling: All the humans of the world who are dating. I am super-interested in how we choose partners — what is desirable, why is it desirable, and is it sustainable? The world of online dating also fascinates me, thinking about the effect it has on an innumerable number of humans in regard to how we approach relationships and intimacy. My generation has this idea that there is always someone better out there, creating a lack of focus on one partner. Dating has a huge impact on my practice. My work has always been about relationships in some way: isolation, frustration, intimidation, sharing, manipulation, bliss, lust, longing. These moments have inspired my recent body of work exploring power dynamics within relationships. I’m at a new point in my life where I am learning how to love and be vulnerable, and that’s drastically changed my process and work, as well.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?
The best thing is how supportive and welcoming the Denver art community is. When I moved back here two years ago from school in Chicago, I didn’t know anyone in the art community. Now I know or recognize almost everyone at art events. I have also found Denver creatives to be generous with their resources and sharing exhibition opportunities. Also, Rule Gallery has been immensely supportive of everything I do and are all dear friends of mine. They've played a large role in helping me find traction here in Denver.
Worst thing is the limited studio space, although most creatives I know are very thrifty when it comes to finding or making their own studio space.
How about globally?
I think the rise of social media can arguably be both positive and negative on the arts. I see it as a positive in the connections it builds and how it gives you the ability to share your work with the world. It makes art more accessible in a way that allows you to see inside someone’s studio, their process and the interests outside of art that influence their practice.
Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?
I do not think trends are worth following. Be you, be weird, be vulnerable. But...I am all about the current trend of pink in art. It excites me to see so many people embracing a color that for so long was taboo.
What’s your dream project?
I dream about making my concrete sculptures HUGE. I would also love to build a house.
If you died tomorrow, what or whom would you come back as?
I would return as a sassy cat.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I love it! I am beyond thrilled with the Denver art scene and Colorado life. I’m a big skier and a horrible mountain biker, but adore both. I can do a mountain activity in the morning and be back in the studio in the afternoon — what a perfect day!
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
What a tough question! One of my favorites is Dasha Baulina. She wears so many hats as a gallery assistant at Rule Gallery, executive assistant for Month of Photography, an illustrator and an incredibly supportive, kind and intelligent human. She is currently working on illustrations for a Russian children’s novel that are gorgeous!
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Well, I just began my residency at RedLine, which will keep me busy for the next two years. Swing by RedLine and say hi! I am beyond thrilled to be part of the RedLine community and look forward to contributing to their programs. My solo show, Private Party — just opened at Rule Gallery in Marfa, Texas — will be on view through January 5. I lived in Marfa for the month of October, experiencing small-town life and enjoying self-reflective alone time after a few crazy months producing the new body of work for Private Party. My agenda every day there was to read, work out and watch the sunset. Life is good! During the holidays, I will have new work for sale as part of Hey Hue’s pop-up shops curated by Deanne Gertner. The artists participating are amazing, so be sure to check that out!
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Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
Denver is full of brilliant creatives; I could list so many! A new favorite of mine and fellow resident at RedLine is Juntae TeeJay Hwang. He recently moved to Denver after receiving his MFA from Columbia. His practice is mostly performance-based and explores ideas of escapism. Definitely be on the lookout for his work!
See installations in window wells by Sarah Bowling, Kate Casanova, Esther Hernandez, Marsha Mack and Frankie Toan on Saturday, November 10, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Yes Ma’am Projects. For address and info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Hey Hue’s November affordable-art pop-ups at the website. Keep up with Sarah Bowling and her work on her home page or on Instagram.