s. portico bowman
Flight is the First World
When a child dreams in solitude, the child knows an existence without bounds. A child’s reverie is not simply a reverie of escape. It is a reverie of flight.
Children select and discard interpretations of what objects might be to make sense of the world around them. In a child’s imagination sofas become ships and brooms run like horses. They absorb the adult world with the ease of pulling yarn through a sewing card or lifting impressions with Silly Putty®. Children fly, make music without instruments or discover perfect worlds watching jet streams swirl in the sky. Mud stuck boots spring high marching across a field waving banners of collected pussywillows. Powerful winds wash hair across cheeks as the sun moves shadows around camps on the grass. Play and discovery accompany every activity and transformation is performed with simple innocence. Any material, object or situation has the potential for expressing a thought or answering a question.
Why does the child’s imagination become suppressed by the experience of growing up? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could maintain the childlike spirit of wonder and play.
Just as a white summer-cloud, in harmony with heaven and earth, freely floats in the blue sky from horizon to horizon, following the breath of the atmosphere — in the same way the pilgrim abandons himself to the breath of the greater life that wells up from the depth of his being and leads him beyond the farthest horizons to an aim which is already present within him, though yet hidden from his sight.
— Lama Govinda, "The Way of the White Clouds"
By opening to and allowing ourselves periods of reverie, be that in nature,
prayer or meditation, it is possible to maintain the spirit of wonder and curiosityvital to our personal and creative well-being. Clouds unfold in an infinite range of possible stories like every human life. Aligning our creative spirit with their infinite narrative through our imagination also provides a metaphor of the constant conditions of change that exist also for every human life. The peaceful, and finally clear resolution of their shifting nature provides an expressive form of how it is possible to relax within the ever-moving story we humans live within.
Clear Mind is a multi-media installation created for the Maddox Art Center in Walnut Ridge, AR to exhibit in October 2013. There are four cloud creatures in the series: Rabbit, Nice Rat, Koi Fish and Dragon. These creatures become the compendium of sky creatures and icons of imaginative experience. Ceramic computer artist Colby Parsons collaborated with me to create a video projection of cloud footage I have collected from the Big Island of Hawaii where the animal shapes were “discovered.” The video projects the shapes of the four creatures onto five foot houses.
S. Portico Bowman graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a BFA with Distinction in 1985. Specialties include art criticism and writing, installation art, ceramics, and mixed media. Special Honors include a Visiting Artist opportunity for Initiatives in Contemporary Art and Architecture at the McMaster Museum of Art, funded by The Canada Council, and Saskatchewan Arts Board Creative B Grant in 1997. After a career as a fine-art printmaker she moved from Saskatoon in 1998 to pursue her MFA in sculpture and ceramics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She graduated in 2001, receiving the Outstanding Graduating Graduate Award.
Bowman is a Professor of Art at Pittsburg State University where she has taught Printmaking, Sculpture, Sculptural Ceramics, the Designed World, Toy Design, Art in the Automotive and Art Practices Seminar classes since 2001. She is a Studio Art Reader for the Advanced Placement College Board exam, and for the past ten summers Bowman has taught the Summer Art Institute at the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
Bowman has exhibited nationally and internationally, while also participating in visual art and writing residencies in both Canada and Poland. She has published numerous articles in Canadian, US and European art publications since 1998 such as the International Sculpture Center’s Sculpture Magazine, Ceramics: Art and Perception, and Ceramics. In 2016 Bowman received a post-graduate certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Her mentor was Alison Pick nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Bowman was shortlisted for Room Magazine’s 2014 Fiction Writing contest and won a scholarship to attend the Summer Literary Series mini-workshop in Montreal Quebec. Bowman’s first novel Cashmere Comes From Goats is complete and out for review with various publishers. Bowman is now “in between books.