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Clairebowman bowmanclaireinsteadiletyoucomeandgo

Instead, I let you come and go

Linocut (relief print)

36" x 55"

Claire Bowman

Artist Statement:

One of the most uniting experiences of humanity is our connection to our physical body. While they come in a plethora of variations, we all have a physical form that we must use to understand the world around us and get us through our daily lives. For women in particular, this experience can have an even deeper unifying force, caused by continued methods of societal objectification, both obvious and subtle. We often learn from each other how to look at ourselves and judge our own bodies based on how we see friends and family objectifying themselves. In effect, our understanding of self becomes intrinsically tied to the other women around us.

These themes are then paralleled within the process of relief printing. The slow, methodical carving away of material mimics the time, experiences, relationships, that carve away the blank slate of our person. These marks may not be entirely visible within the final print, but their presence has changed the block permanently — the impressions of the world has changed the impression of the print. The carved overlapping of the figures within the images, letting limbs and bodies morph and blend into each other, along with the visual treatment of the skin as fluid, organic movement flowing within and between the forms, pushes the ideas of interdependency further. One figure’s presence in the block has permanently changed the appearance of the other, expressing the underlying connection between them in a shared visual tension created by the complexity of the marks within.

On COVID-19:

Since the lockdown began, I have found both myself and my work profoundly impacted by the current state of our world. The very connections and bonds I was starting to express within my practice suddenly became dangerous — for the very sake of protecting those I love as well as myself, I severed physical connections and have not seen close friends in months (in person at least). It is now almost impossible to pursue my work as I had been. With the lifesized linoleum blocks I have been printing, a large-scale press was a luxury and privilege I hardly considered until I no longer had access to my university’s printmaking studio. This was an especially hard blow as I was about to both finish my largest block to date (37” x 55”) as well as begin my MFA candidacy review process that has now been put on hold for the foreseeable future. To try and keep up my motivation, I decided to try and print this new linoleum block by hand (the piece I am here submitting), and while successful to a degree, it was very difficult to execute and not of a quality I am used to when using a press. To save myself from disappointment and frustration, I am now waiting to print until I once again have access to the print studio. Until then, I will focus on carving my blocks, reflecting even further on human interdependency, as well as ways my work can grow both from this experience and once it’s over.


Claire Bowman is a contemporary printmaker specializing in relief printing and how the medium can express interpersonal connections and female body image. She is a current Graduate Student at Kent State University, earning her MFA in Photography and Print Media. Claire has lived in Ohio for all of her life, growing up in Cincinnati and then earning her BFA from the University of Dayton.

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