CTRL Gallery

3907 Main Street

Houston, TX

Toil and Trouble Press Release Excerpt

Magic only looks easy, To the uninitiated, some flashy gestures and fancy-sounding words are all you need. But any competent witch -from Macbeth's time to today- will tell you that a good spell takes time, effort, know-how and a few unholy bargains. The seven artists in Toil and Trouble each have their own particular mojo, but their work as a whole attests to the perils and rewards that come from looking into the abyss, channelling a certain amount of chaos and transforming it - through ritual, technique and no small amount of grief - into a glimpse of the supernatural. 

The natural world isn't usually Natasha Bowdoin's overt subject, but its principles and spirit seem to govern the way her work develops in its making. Starting with an excerpt of text, a totem, a gesture, or all three at once, Bowdoin's drawings grow instinctively, sprawling across a wall or tightening into a thicket of words and imagery. Bowdoin often cuts out and layers her drawings, replacing the original legibility of her source material with a more intuitive reading. Wisps of text and other references - old botany illustrations, fables, masks, deep sea life - churn in shifting, volatile patterns. With the obsessive rhythm of an incantation Bowdoin manipulates, stresses, and finally surpasses language in her attempts to conjure presences too old or too wild to be circumscribed by it.