Justin Bower paints his subjects as de-stabilized, fractured post-humans in a nexus of interlocking spatial systems. His paintings problematize how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age while suggesting the impossibility of grasping such a slippery notion.The ongoing decoding of the human body, a formula to each individual’s genome, confronts us with a radical question of “What are we? Am I a code that can be reduced and multiplied infinitely?” Bower’s paintings begin to open a dialogue to this destabilizing effect/trauma technology has on the individual that has infected the daily lives of contemporary man.
His work reflects the increasing “control society” that we find ourselves in. By placing his turbulent subjects in an Op Art context, the familiar repeating patterns that were used to engage the eye in the 60’s, are now being deployed to act as a type of “code” permeating and invading the body/subject. Bower wants to “have the viewer feel the instability his subjects reflect”, by playing on the non-fixed features of the face and the hallucinatory effects of the Op Art, so as to engage the viewer and perhaps awaken them from a techno-slumber.
Born in 1975 in San Francisco, Justin Bower graduated in 2010 with a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Claremont Graduate University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in Art and Philosophy. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Since he started exhibiting in the early 2000s, Bower’s work has been the subject of several solo and group exhibitions including the Museum of Art & History – MOAH, Lancaster, CA (2016) and Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles (2013, 2010). The artist has also been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Feitelson Fellowship Grant (2010), the Joan Mitchell Award Nominee (2010), Four Outstanding Fellowships from Claremont Graduate University (2008-2009), TACFA (Tustin Area Council of Fine Arts) Grant (2008), and Orange County Arts Grant for Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking – Honorable Mention (2007).
Bower’s artwork has been published in American Art Collector (April 2015); Modern Painters (September 2013: 100 Best Fall Shows), Studio Visit Magazine (2013 cover); Huffington Post (October 2011); Artillery Magazine (December 2010); the LA Times (December 2010), and New American Paintings (December 2010).