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27 JULY - 12 AUGUST 2016

interview with jesse bowling

tell us about the pragmatics of setting up the first MEANWHILE window show

it was really simple and low key. very ideal. i got an email from Sonya asking if i had any already existing work that i would like to install in the MEANWHILE window in about a week. having only one week notice made me feel relaxed about the content, i liked that it was short notice.

what were your feelings about MEANWHILE upon being asked, when no one really knew who we were or what we were doing?

very good, i love window spaces because they block people getting too close and seeing all the mistakes, and add a shiny gloss to everything, making everything look more still. i wasn't phased at all about the upcoming shows. i had guessed the general direction of MEANWHILE, it was positive. being the first show suited me because i didn't have anyone to compare myself too. it felt like an exciting thing, to fill a new and empty space.

an you talk about your choice of materials, and what gets you excited when you choose a material to work with?

plastic (might use less soon), metal (sheets, baking trays, or old framing), wire, glass, tiles, wood, canvas, fabric, paper, concrete, plaster, sand, rocks/pebbles, duraseal, paint, crayon pastel, powdered pigment, limestone, windows. everything bought, found, or handmade things, or a mixture. the most exciting thing is finding a material. it makes me feel a lot better as it cuts out a lot of planning and money and more searching. if i have something that could work i just try to make it work rather than buying the perfect new thing, which can often be more work - cleaning, and planning around a wonky thing. for the teal coloured curve i put in MEANWHILE, i had been working on glass a bit, making simple works, applying colour and making frames for the edge. this piece of glass was from my bedroom window which was a little bit broken for a year and a half. when they finally came to fix it i asked if i could have the glass. i was getting into rounder shapes at this point so i used it as is, except cut a little off the edge to make it shorter.

i feel your work communicates a negation towards general geometric abstraction, and it seems to disrupt that? Do you have any comment on that?

i align more with 'DIY minimal'. there are lots of words/genres that i could kind of fit into, sometimes they are helpful to know when you want to look up an artist or see what rules come with a certain movement. at the moment i don't like patterns except a few grids and lines. i don’t mind some shapes - rectangle, a blob. (sounds really boring). i feel like i am minimal but without the manifesto.

your work has a sense of play and ease about it, would you say that’s to do with the making process?

yes, the making and finding and planning. some things i make are super quick, and are a spontaneous use of material or in the moment idea. for the red hanging cut shape i put in MEANWHILE i had just bought this red plastic, and i was on a roll making shelves from aluminium baking trays, as well as slowly working on my lightbox so i was sort of thinking what else could i make because i was feeling really positive. with help from Tim, i made it very quick, using the bandsaw. the rough rectangle is my go-to shape (it is kind of a joke, a bad-skill shape). then i drilled a hole to hang it. it’s better if i make it quickly because more nice mistakes happen.

other things i plan semi-well, but always have an openness. maybe i will leave it as it is, or paint it, or add things later. i think this is also a way to cope when things go wrong, accepting the mistakes as normal or natural part of the making, but freaking a bit about it first. maybe leaving things open is actually worse because i can’t make a decision so i jump between them for ages. some people don't even notice the mistakes, only the perfectionist uptight people do.

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