Richard Butler Bowdon
Born in 1957 in Cape Town, South Africa. Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Born in Cape Town, Richard Butler-Bowdon’s ethos has been that of a citizen of the world, and whether he is in the Sudan, Thailand, the Netherlands, or in his current home in Melbourne, Australia, his utmost dedication is to art and the art community. Fundamentally, his practice is an outcome of this open and non-hierarchical curiosity in humanity.
Taking on the most formal and historical traditions of portraiture, Butler-Bowdon challenges the viewer to break with these very conventions and presumptions that accompany lofty tradition by taking his observations from those living in the diaspora. His subjects are contra-historical; they are contemporary and undeniably compelling. Far from the exotic, Butler-Bowdon’s paintings create magnetic and subversive narratives that invite the viewer into the world of ‘the other’, to enter a dynamic gaze that is defiant to preconceptions.
1980-1984: Bachelor of Art (Painting)Prahran College of Art
1990-1993: Bachelor of Art (Asian Languages)Melbourne University, Victoria.
1993-1994: Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (Arabic, Hindi, Islamic Studies)
1995-1996: Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education
(with methods in LOTE Arabic / English as a Second Language)Victoria University of Technology, Footscray, Victoria.
Exhibitions 2013 -
2021: A Solo in Two Parts - Ebony Curated, Cape Town - First Floor Gallery Harare
2020: African Galleries Now, African Art Galleries- Artsy Online art fair, First Floor Gallery Harare
2020: ARCOLisboa Online, First Floor Gallery Harare, artsy.net
2018: Next Level, First Gallery Harare, Harare, Zimbabwe
2017: Another Antipodes/urban axis, PSAS, Fremantle, Australia
2017: First Floor Gallery Harare, London Art Fair, London
2016: First Floor Gallery Harare, AKAA art fair, Paris
2016: The Mirror Complex, Ebony/curated, Cape Town
2016: First Floor Gallery Harare, Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town
2015: Summa contemporary Art Fair – Madrid, Spain
2015: Joburg Art Fair – Johannesburg, South Africa
2015: Cape town Art fair – Cape Town, South Africa
2014: 1:54 Art Fair – London, United Kingdom
2014: Joburg Art Fair – Johannesburg, South Africa
2013: 1:54 Art Fair – London, United Kingdom
Solo Exhibitions 1997 - 2011
2011: First Floor Gallery Harare (George Silundika Ave.), The Basement 40 S. Michel Ave. Harare Zimbabwe
‘ Song T’may ’ : (Khmer : New Hope) HFCA Cambodia project : C3 Abbotsford Convent. Melb. Australia
‘ Atavista #1 ’ Sunshine & Grease, Clifton Hill, Australia
2009: ‘ Richard Butler-Bowdon ’: Until Never gallery Melb. CBD
2006: ‘ The Aesthetic Cell ’ : Until Never gallery Melb.
2003: ‘ Recent Portraits ’ BUS artist-run-space 117 Lt. Lonsdale St. Melbourne CBD.
2002: ‘ Twelve Contemporary Australians’ : Gallery 4A @ Asian Australian Artists Assoc., Sydney Australia
2001: ‘ Huan the Dispersion a cathartic fantasy in three parts ’Ist Floor Artist and Writers Space, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
1999: ‘ The Familiar Exotic ’ Talk Artists Initiative Melb. CBD.
‘ Function at the Mirage ’ Citylights 2000 Hosier Lne. ‘
1997: Nexus MultiCultural Gallery, Lions Art Centre Adelaide.
Group Exhibitions 1999 - 2010
2010: ‘ The New Jerusalem’ curated by Christos Tsiolkas & Zoe Ali : City Gallery, Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne,
: ‘ UnEarthed ’ – a Blender studios survey group exhib. at Off the Kerb gallery Collingwood, Melbourne.
: ‘ Gelengu du Gelengwurru’ benefit exhib. : Gidja Warmun community/ E.Kimberley, W.Australia :
Scheffer Gallery, Darlington, Sydney NSW;
2009: ‘ Felt-tip Pen Show ‘ drawing exhibition Rearview Melb.
‘ Hidden Faces of the Archibald ‘ – Melb. Salon des Refuses - Smartartz Gallery South Melbourne.
2008: Finalist in ‘Black Swan Prize for Portraiture’ Perth WA ‘ Revolving Doors ’ : in memory of Blair Trethowan UPLANDS Gallery, Prahran, Australia.
‘ The Space inBetween - The Book Project ’:Bendigo Art Gallery VIC. Latrobe Regional Gallery, Gippsland, VIC. Wagga Wagga Art Gallery NSW.
2007: ‘ The Space inBetween – The Book Project ’ Margaret Laurence Gallery VCA Southbank VIC. Curator : Tara Gilbee.
2006: ‘ All-City ’ an exhib. celebrating the work of Melbourne City studio-based artists. Curator : James Dodd.
2005: ‘ Dinner Party ’ Portraiture exhibition @ Ember 67, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
2004: ‘ Southern’ HOME gallery Prague, Czech Republic,
Andrea Tu, Sean Meilak, David Rozetsky, David Noonan,
Mira Gojak. Curators : N.Tomlinson & Kristi Monfries.
2003: ‘ 67% Say We Were Misled ” Sweden Bridge, Vienna, Austria / Dublin Artspace Dublin, EIRE.
‘ Disappointment Now ’ Uplands, Curator : Matt Griffin.
2002: Australian artist group exhibition with David Rozetsky,
Kristi Monfries, Jacinta Schreuder, Sean Meilak
ROOM PROJECT : Rotterdam Nth, Netherlands .
2001: ‘ Eat my Art ’ TCB Chinatown Melbourne Australia,
Curator Michelle Ussher.
1997: ‘ Chemistry’ 200 Gertrude St. Artist Spaces with Alex Pittendrigh and Mira Gojak.
Other professional engagements
From 1996- 2001 co-directed and co-founded the Citylights Project (with Andrew McDonald) and in that time was involved with directing, curating and installing visual art exhibitions at the project’s two outdoor light box sites in central Melbourne city.
2017: Art Africa Magazine - Another Antipodes Inaugural Exhibition Presents New Wave in African Art
2016: Contemporary & - Richard Butler Bowdon: The Mirror Complex
2011 : The Herald newspaper (Zimbabwe) 05 June 2011 Review of First Floor Gallery Harare exhibition :'Gallery takes art to the people’ Stephen Garananga
2011: ‘Why Art’ Newsletter April/May/June edited by Valerie Kabov (Paris) (https://whyartnewsletter.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/april-may-and-june-2011/) Feature artist : Richard Butler-Bowdon
2008: Artlink national Australian art magazine ‘ Fuel for Thought ’ Volume 28 : Image : ‘ The Mouse and the Elephant ’.Review of The Space inBetween – The Book Project.
2003: Artists/Artist -Run Spaces (Published by WestSpace) Interviews with artists from six Melbourne artist run spaces. Image and mention p.33 Review of 'Composition' exhibition at Platform in 'Desktop' magazine.
2002: Review of ' Twelve Contemporary Australians' exhibition at Gallery 4A in article : 'Size Does Matter' in Exhibitions/ Metropolitan section in Sydney Morning Herald ' 15/6/02 by Lenny Ann Low.
2001: ‘ZOO’ issue 11, quarterly London-based international visual art / architecture design / video / publication in book form : 'Melbourne' feature : 4 images Richard Butler-Bowdon.
2000: ‘LIKE, Art Magazine No.12’ mention in ‘Video : Focussing where?’ by Michael Graeve.
1999: Interview by Sandra Bridie : ‘The Familiar Exotic’ in ‘Talk 55’ artzine - August 1999.1997 : ‘LIKE, Art Magazine No.2’ Review of inaugural Citylights exhibition by Andrew McQualter.
Catalogue essay for ‘Chemistry’ exhibition by Lyndal Walker.