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Type: Journal article
Title: Stella Bowen's anxious interiors
Author: Downey, G.
Citation: Australian Cultural History, 2006; 24:99-113
Publisher: Australian Academy of the Humanities and the History of Ideas Unit
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 0728-8433
Editor: Supski, S.
Statement of
Georgina Downey
Abstract: Between 1922 and 1933 Adelaide-born artist Stella Bowen (1893-1947) lived and worked in Paris. Here she discovered a new subject--the apartment or studio interior, and these paintings of domestic space bear little resemblance to her earlier work. (1) Darker in mood and more disturbing in content than any of her previous paintings, Bowen's interior views constitute the focus of this article. (2) By drawing on theories from feminist film studies that explore the significance of women at windows, and by drawing on stories by Katherine Mansfield I will argue that Bowen's domestic views reflect women's experience of the early modern city as an anxious but potentially charged space for the iteration of self. Reading Bowen's work against the emerging study of 'critical human geography' gives new insight into how colonial expatriates experienced the geographies of the modern city, and re-positions Bowen's painting within an expanded canon of modernism.
Rights: © 2006 Australian Public Intellectual Network and the author
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