Glowing salmon roe, viscous amoebas and gelatinous cells undergoing mitosis. Whatever imagery comes to mind when looking at Priscilla Fowler’s paintings, nature is one thread tying them together.
Fowler attributes her awareness of the organic world to having lived all over the country, examining different shapes and structures. “I think that’s where it comes from,” she says. “Just paying attention.”
After spending 10 years in Denver, Fowler moved to Las Vegas and opened Priscilla Fowler Fine Art at Art Square in the summer of 2016.
February 2 marked the gallery’s grand opening.
Showcasing local artists like Lolita Develay, Allison Streater, Roseanne Giacomini, Jeanne Voltura and 3 Baaad Sheep, Priscilla Fowler Fine Art already seems to be forging deep connections within the Las Vegas art scene. It’s also home to some of Fowler’s own work.
Using ink, water and acrylic paint, Fowler creates ethereal, biomorphic paintings and sculptures. An exploration into happy “accidents,” her art often plays with the forms that emerge naturally through the process of painting and drying. Most begin with hand-cut pieces of mylar—a polyester film—and are then assembled into abstract, nature-inspired designs. Like cumulus clouds, each work becomes something else in the viewer’s imagination. By layering and arranging the hand-painted pieces, Fowler creates 3D bas-relief clusters (see: “Nest”), aquatic mylar jellyfish chandeliers and other kaleidoscopic galaxies of color.
Looking at her art, you probably wouldn’t guess she spent most of her life behind a monitor. “I was from a family that couldn’t afford to send me to art school right away, so I got a job in the computer business,” she says. Fowler was 55 when she returned to school to earn her bachelor of fine arts degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Living in the small, mountainous town of Westcliffe, Colorado (population 568), Fowler signed up for a two-week class at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, five hours from her home. It turned out to be a pivotal point in her life. “I thought, I’m really too old to stay here for another 50 years; I’ve got to get out of here and get my life moving forward,” she says. “So I did.”
Fowler opened a studio in Denver and immersed herself in the co-op and gallery scene, showing at Pirate Contemporary Art, Mai Wyn Fine Art and Fort Collins Lincoln Center. With her most recent space in Las Vegas, Fowler is focused not just on making her own work, but on highlighting local and national contemporary artists. The gallery’s next shows will feature the work by William H. Thielen in March and Rosanne Giacomini in May.
Priscilla Fowler Fine Art Thursday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. & by appointment. 1025 S. 1st St. #155, 719-371-5640.