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Bowling was a graduate of the Royal College of Art alongside David Hockney and other ‘Young Contemporaries’ at the beginning of the 1960s, and his work of this period developed from a Francis Bacon-like expressionism through imagery that was more related to pop art. Mirror recapitulates that trajectory in a year that he started to divide his life between London and New York, and gradually abandon figuration in favour of abstraction. The painting contains autobiographical references beyond the evocation of Bacon, such as the motif of the spiral staircase that leads to the Royal College of Art’s print room.

October 2013