Frank Bowling at Tate Britain

The residents from Home of Compassion in Thames Ditton headed off to Tate Britain for the audio description of the Frank Bowling exhibition.  Many of our residents had never heard of this well regarded artist, which would prove an easy task under the guidance of the Tate team. 

If it is primary colours you are after, then Frank is definitely your man.  The bigger and brighter the better, which makes for quite an interesting audio description.  At the tender age of 85, Frank has had an exceedingly long painting career, spanning over 60 years; in fact Frank still paints each and every day.  Many of his works are so expansive that they can cause neck strain when viewing.  Think 4 metres plus. 

Guyana born Frank is known for constantly pushing the possibilities of paint and for his innovative approach to colour.  The exhibition brings together a lifetime of large-scale artworks.  It includes key series such as the iconic “map paintings”, the visually arresting “poured paintings”, all the way to his more mature work in recent years.

Tate took three years to bring these works together and they can be rightly proud of their achievement.  His paintings relate to Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field Painting and Lyrical Abstraction.  Frank has lived in the UK since he was 15 completing his education at the RCA, studying alongside the likes of David Hockney.  In 1966 he moved to New York on a Guggenheim Fellowship which gave him the badly needed opportunity to set up a studio.  In fact he is one of the few artists in the world to receive this fellowship twice.  Since the 1970’s he splits his time equally between his New York and South London studios. 

Of the 59 works in the exhibition, none of them are framed.  And the Tate team were not shy in letting us into a few Bowling trade secrets.  As an example, many of his canvases are so large he paints them in sections and on one occasion, to stop this gigantic roll of canvas rolling off the table he secured it using an old paint tin, which marked his work badly.  All was not lost, as Bowling really liked the effect on the paint and mirrored it on the other side of the painting and now uses it as one of his “techniques”.  So next time you are decorating the lounge and leave a paintbrush or tin somewhere that leaves a mark, dig out your inner Frank Bowling and repeat the error to make it look like you intended it to be like that from the start.

Home of Compassion is dedicated to providing the highest level of residential, nursing and dementia care for up to 71 elderly residents. The luxurious care home is set in delightful surroundings in the heart of Thames Ditton, with beautiful views over the river.

If you would like to find out more about life at Home of Compassion, our events and activities, or would like to arrange a visit to our home, please contact us on 0808 223 5406 or email

Home of Compassion

Home Manager

Avril Jones


58 High Street,
Thames Ditton,

0808 223 5406
View care home

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