After a break last month, I’m very happy to be back with a new Friday & Friends blog post. While writing the intro for this blog post, the old nursery rhyme about girls being made of sugar and spice comes to mind. When I entered Emily Bowser’s studio at Ox-Bow last year, I was amazed by all of the colours and materials and the boxes of different flavoured cotton candy mix she had lined up in a row! She brought her own cotton candy machine to our residency, and she’s responsible for the blue cotton candy in the video I made last year. I would walk into her studio, while she was making cotton candy, and the smell of sugar wafted in the air and sugar crystals floated everywhere. I’m very happy to introduce Emily Bowser and her work to you.
Roselina Hung: How did we first meet?
Emily Bowser: We first met at this very time last year (2011) in Saugatuck, Michigan at the Ox-Bow Artist in Residency Program.
RH: Tell me a bit about yourself…
EB: I grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Went to Pennsylvania State University for English and Fine Arts (Sculpture), and then moved to the Midwest to pursue my MFA at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After finishing up my graduate program in Iowa, I moved back PA where now I call Reading my home.
RH: Tell me about your work…
EB: Most of my work tends to be ephemeral and/or food related when it comes to materials. I have done previous pieces that have included: cake, icing, bird seed, bread dough and cotton candy. More recently, the bread dough and cotton candy have become the two predominant materials in my work. I love how both of those materials change over time. The bread dough rises and falls; while the cotton candy starts out as a soft, fluffy pastel cloud that transforms into hard, intensely bright colored clump. I like how each material acts as the performer of the sculpture or installation and therefore the work changes over a period time.
Some recurring themes or imagery that have crept into my work more recently have been horses. More specifically, hobby horses. The ones that come on the metal frames that you used to ride as a kid. I like the idea of placing multiple horses together in a scenario that they would never want to be found in. So, four horses balanced on the point of spinning top or six horses chasing one another in a circle. It’s just like playing with those little animal figurines when you’re a kid, but the toys are bigger than you are. It’s a fun scale shift! Similar ideas that have been swimming around in the studio have been games. I enjoy thinking about how each set of rules in a game is different, yet the same. There are always roles to be played by each player, directions to follow and some sort of outcome whether its winning or losing. I’m interested in the discreet balance of all of those aforementioned ideas.
RH: What are you currently working on?
EB: Last week, I just finished a new sculpture titled, GagReel, that indicates a good idea of where my head is at right now. I’m also looking forward to start working on some smaller pieces/installations that happen on a much more intimate kind of scale.
RH: Where can people find your work? Do you have any upcoming shows?
EB: My most recent piece, GagReel, can be found in the show “Make It, Break It, Rebuild It” that is currently going on during the Philly Fringe Festival, and at Crane Arts in the show titled “Landscape” – both in Philadelphia, PA.
RH: Tell me one fun fact about yourself.
EB: Hmm, I once ate room made entirely out of cake and icing. And I love reading the dictionary.
Thank you Emily! If you’re in Philadelphia, please check out Emily’s exhibitions. Read past Fridays & Friends posts here.