It’s been four decades since a major American institution presented a major survey on the great painter Frank Bowling, born in 1934 in British Guiana. This exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, focuses on Bowling’s years in New York, 1966 to 1975, a time of social turmoil and progress, abstract art on the ascent, and “Black Power” changing the country. Bowling wrote, taught, and exhibited widely; he curated an important show in 1969 called “5+1”—an exhibition of work by five African-American abstract artists, with Bowling the +1. “In my youth,” he has said, “I tended to look at the tragic side of human behavior and try and reflect that in my work, but gradually as I became more involved in the making of paintings, I realized that one of the main ingredients in making paintings was color and geometry. And I found that this was the place that I felt the most comfortable.” —L.J.