The works in Recent Future / Distant Past stem from Fowler’s recent research subjects: astral travel, treasure hordes, ancient map symbology, extinction events, hobo graffiti, archaeological finds and iconoclasm. His paintings possess a quality of simultaneous familiarity and mystery. He explains” with every painting there are several choices to be made between the recognisable and the unknown”.

In order to differentiate the journey from the destination, Fowler states that “no painting is done until it earns the right to not be destroyed”. Then it has arrived, is accepted as a painting, an authentic artefact.

Employing both an additive and reductive process and a luminous palette, Fowler approached these paintings like an archaeologist searching for fragments, sifting, and then describing his finds through form, colour and texture. Some findings are brought to the surface, and some are buried again, creating alluring arrangements which float between abstraction and figuration. For example, in the painting ‘A radically condensed history of preindustrial life’, Fowler sets up a space which is not at once understandable. Bodies of water, bronze sculptures, a Viking shield and an arrowhead share the stage with more recognisable symbols and abstract elements. The ambiguity disrupts the viewers comprehension, which compels a longer and deeper look.

This kind of visually magnetic interaction, not uncommon to Fowler’s paintings, evokes the relationship between a direct visual encounter and memory or emotion.