Bowles was educated at the Art Academy in Oslo and University of the Arts in Berlin, and has since 2001 had an active artistic praxis both in Norway and internationally. She has had solo exhibitions at Tegnerforbundet Oslo, Lars Bohman Gallery in Stockholm, Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen and Galleri Thomassen in Gothenburg.
Bowles has participated in Traces at Malmo Art Museum, Surrealism in Norwegian art at the Stenersen Museum in Oslo, Drawing Biennale 2008 Artist House in Oslo, and WOMEN PIONEERS – new voices at Lillehammer Art Museum.
Bowles is purchased by among others Lillehammer Art Museum, Malmö Art Museum, State Art Council, Sweden and Statoil Norway. In 2016 she received a 10-year work grant from the Norwegian Cultural Council.
Vanna Bowles works with drawing, sculpture, installation and performance. Her drawings are figurative, almost photo-realistic, and with a surreal expression. She often uses optical effects and reliefs which destabilizes the boundaries between the image surface and the room where the picture is placed. Bowles has made her mark by combining drawing with sculpture in a personal and distinct way.
Bowles finds inspiration for her work in medicine, botany and zoology. Her pictorial world is based on people, often in fragile situations, in combination with fragment of plants, flowers, birds and insects.