Tony Bowen is a fine artist, working mainly with photography, based in Brighton (UK). His work explores the interpretation of the found mark, and is inspired by the power of the trace, the fragment and the unresolved to provoke the imagination in unexpected ways. More recent work interrogates and documents ordinary, banal and often overlooked surfaces in natural and urban environments. Residues of human and other activity, areas of particular interest, suggest all kinds of narratives and stimulate broad lines of enquiry. Whether literal or metaphorical, these investigations open up new, personal ways of deciphering and engaging with landscape.
Fading: Untitled #4
Decay: “The physical process by which a sensation gradually disappears from the spectrum until it no longer exists”
This black and white photograph (20cm by 20cm) is from a body of work (made between 2015-2018) exploring the surface of the ground following the departure of Brighton’s annual ‘Pride’ celebrations. Intense preparation leads to the erection of a massive citadel of marquees, stages, fencing and other paraphernalia.
Suddenly, a quarter of a million people descend on the city for a long weekend of parade, dance and music in a wonderful festival celebrating tolerance and diversity in all its forms. Just as suddenly, the party’s over. Euphoria subsides; hundreds of thousands leave town and, almost overnight, everything ‘disappears’.
Deprived of light and sustenance, the landscape displays a surreal aftermath. Suffocated grass stops dying and breathes again. Its colour and complexion have changed completely, briefly retelling the story of what has happened in the form of a huge, natural photogram: a topography of absence. Inevitably, healing begins and, as the ground gradually consumes all evidence that anything ever happened, memories also begin their slow process of creation, distortion and decay.