Artist stresses the importance of identity in the creation of work

Daniel Owen

Kent State grad deals with sexual themes

Sculptures from Jim Bowling’s Mutual Attraction exhibition are on display at the Downtown Gallery. Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Human sexuality is the theme of Jim Bowling’s Mutual Attraction exhibit, which opened last week at the Downtown Gallery in Kent.

“We run toward it, we run from it, we flaunt it, we hide it, we laugh at it and cry over it,” he said in a statement. “In my current body of work, I wanted to address sex head-on, to react from the gut and just put it out there.”

Mutual Attraction features six pieces of work created from clay. Works titled “A Kiss is Just a Kiss,” “Head to Head,” “Penetration/ Embrace” and others are inspired by themes of sexuality in society.

The sculptures incorporate Bowling’s use of juxtaposed textures such as rough, weathered surfaces with smooth, glossy-glass -like finishes.

“I want to have fun when (creating art) and look at sexual interaction between two individuals,” he said. “The pieces in the show represent interactions such as two individuals seeing each other across the room all the way to actual physical sexual encounters.”

Bowling also stresses the importance of identity forming in his work.

“I had always been interested in how we become ‘an identity’; what makes us who we are as individuals and I realized that would, in some way, always be part of my art, whether intentional or not,” Bowling said in a statement. “The interactions and intersections of the dual figures in each piece reflect our own interactions, from the romantic to the coy to the ecstatic.”

Bowling has Kent ties as well.

He received his master’s in ceramics from Kent State.

“I had a great experience at Kent,” he said. “I am so appreciative of the opportunity to do this exhibition and be involved with (Kent State).”

Anderson Turner, director of galleries for Kent State’s School of Art, said the Kent galleries often have important connections to Kent State.

“The Downtown Gallery is focused on regional artists and often have some type of connection to Kent,” he said. “The (work and exhibitions) are often representative of students and alumni who have come through the program.”

Bowling resides in Columbus and teaches ceramics and sculpture at Otterbein College in Westerville. His work has been shown in other regional national exhibits.

Jim Bowling’s Mutual Attraction will be on display at the Downtown Gallery through March 21.

The School of Art Downtown Gallery is located at 141 E. Main St. in downtown Kent and is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Contact School of Art reporter Daniel Owen at [email protected].