40 Days / 40 Nights (2016), Encaustic and gold leaf, 80 6 x 6 inch panels

Location: Chatham, MA
Featured Work:
40 Days / 40 Nights
CIVA SourcebookFrom curator Michelle Westmark Wingard.

“Sandra Bowden’s masterful work is an ideal example of form embodying content.”

Describe your featured work.

40 Days / 40 Nights (detail)

40 Days / 40 Nights celebrates the contrast between light and darkness and the symbolism of forty days and nights in Scripture. There are many instances in the Bible where forty days signifies major transformations. It rained forty days and forty nights when Noah was in the ark and he had to wait another forty days before he opened the window. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. Jesus fasted forty days and nights in the wilderness, and he remained on earth forty days after his crucifixion. This installation contains forty gold panels suggesting the light of day, and forty black squares incised with the text from John 1, The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome the light.

bowden sanda-altarpiece_vii_triptych_of_the_nativity_afer_belini
Altarpiece VII (Nativity after Bellini) Gold leaf on encaustic panels (2016), 48 x 40 inches
Reformation Altarpiece
Altarpiece VIII (Reformation Altarpiece) Gold leaf on encaustic panels (2017), 42 x 38 inches

Artist’s Statement
A common theme of my work over the years is the many connections to our past. Over the last fifty years my work has consisted of series of paintings and prints that related to archaeology, geology, music, ancient illuminations and the history of art where I created gilded drawings of medieval crosses and altarpieces. The most recent work is a new group of gold altarpieces recalling historical structures that have adorned churches and cathedrals. Each of these areas of exploration has enhanced my appreciation for the great treasure of art that is ours, and how God used all these areas as a way to tell of his majesty and power. My prayer is that my art in some small way reflects that glory.

Altarpiece V (Remembering Rothko), Gold leaf on encaustic panel (2016), 34 x 55 inches

What are you making now?
I am currently working to complete a series of gilded encaustic altarpieces and crosses that will become the core of an exhibition titled Reflections the Glory. These altarpieces recall the beauty and glory of our visual heritage.

Why do you belong to CIVA?
CIVA has been one of the most important forces in the development of my artistic career. I have been stimulated by the discussions and enriched by artists and art historians in the organization. The friendships and camaraderie have encouraged me constantly to push and develop my calling to the highest level possible. I am so indebted to and thankful for CIVA.



bio pic-Bowden SandraSandra Bowden is a painter and printmaker living in Chatham, Massachusetts. With over 100 one-person shows her work is in many collections including the Vatican Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Brauer Museum, Atwood Museum, and the Haifa Museum. Sandra was president of Christians in the Visual Arts from 1993-2007. She is also a passionate collector of religious art dating from the early fifteenth century to the present. She studied at Massachusetts College of Art and received her B.A. from the State University of New York. The Art of Sandra Bowden was published by Square Halo Books in 2005.