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Other Projects

Over the last 25 years, my work has been very diverse, encompassing composition, improvised musical performance, painting, performance poetry, and of course, ritual.
The common theme running through all my work is a love of nature, and a love of people, and a fascination with the relationships between them.
Here are a few of the projects I’ve been involved in over the last 20 years:

In “The Realm of Being” (1994) I collaborated with movement artists Caroline Born and Ruth Cowan, and improvising musician Bruno Guastalla. My role involved the composition of a soundtrack, a background slideshow, about 20 minutes of performance poetry, and some musical improvisation. The whole event included a series of creative workshops, and finished up with an exhibition of the paintings used for the slideshow.

In “Littoral”, led by poet Giles Goodland (1995), I collaborated with Caroline Born and Giles to produce a movement-music-poetry performance, in which my role was the composition of a soundtrack, together with musical improvisation during the performance. The piece was ultimately showcased at the Exeter Festival of Literature.

Walk into the open air ...
Another Day (1)
Pastel and Chinese Ink on Paper
by Jon Bowen 1992
Image from the “Realm of Being”
Photo by Paul Freestone

Snake 2000
"Snake from the Tree of Knowledge"
Recycled Firehose and acrylic paint
by Jon Bowen 2000
Sculpture from the Green Gallery
For the “Green Gallery” (2000), my major role was as project originator and manager. This was a series of events, comprising a succession of workshops run in collaboration with a local primary school, a standing exhibition on an Oxfordshire nature reserve involving 12 visual artists, a programme of outdoor performances, and a cycle of creative workshops for adults.
The project took two years to bring to completion, starting in 1998. The artists for the standing exhibition were selected from applications by a panel which included the project trustees and a representative from the Arts Council. The artists worked together on the site at various times during the first year, to experience the dramatic changes that accompanied the seasonal progression. During the second year, project proposals were finalised and realised.
I led the collaboration for the standing exhibition, to which I was able to make my own contribution. The whole project was supported by the Arts Council of England, the Millennium Festival Fund and South Oxfordshire District Council, who together provided the funding of £20,000.
The project was also supported by the environmentalist, the late The Hon. Miriam Rothschild, who generously allowed use of the nature reserve for the two years of the project, and who professionally endorsed the project. Environmental consultancy was provided by both The Hon. Miriam Rothschild, and Oxford City's Countryside Officer, Oliver de Soissons.
Satish Kumar kindly agreed to open the exhibition.

“The Magic Songbird” is a visual and musical response to a myth of the same title.
The paintings were my first experiments with unframed canvas, and use a variety of techniques including multiple layers, weaving, incorporation of found and manufactured objects, and the folding technique used in the Rites exhibition.
The music deeply explores the potential of synthesised sound mimicking natural sounds in depicting a narrative, and combines classical composition with free improvisation.
Although I have published the music in CD form, together with prints of the paintings, I am still looking for a gallery prepared to exhibit the paintings, which require floor lighting in a black gallery.

The Dance 1998
“The Dance”
Acrylic on unframed and woven canvas.
Title: Chinese ink on paper
by Jon Bowen 1998
Image from “The Magic Songbird”
Return to RitesClick Here to return to the Rites exhibition.

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