APRIL 12 - MAY 12, 2007
A clay vessel holds more than internal or external space. There are artists all over the world whose bodies of work hold within them a phenomenon that is a combination of not only a place but history as well. The great ceramic artist can capture time and place as a unified and active essence within shapes that reverberate larger than their actual physicality. Tim Rowan’s rough beautiful sculptures capture time and place effortlessly.
It is impossible for me to drive around the upstate New York area now and not be reminded of Tim Rowan’s artwork. It is a world of stone and lichen, stillness and tectonic grindings, mineral intelligence and Pleistocene wisdoms. It is also cool stone and brick buildings abandoned but still redolent of the great machines and blood and sweat that toiled inside them earlier in the century.
The artist has written: “We cannot escape the forces of time. When I experience real joy I am aware of my mortality and the preciousness of the moment.”
When a ceramic form, born from an almost mythological combination of concept, intuition, improvisation and restraint, comes into being as a work of art it has released its bondage to time and, if successful, becomes timeless. Yet its corpus is the very stuff of mortality; earth shaped and changed by inspiration, fire, water and ash.
Tim Rowan’s work dances on that dangerous high wire where utilitarian coincidences and non-utilitarian choices taunt each other endlessly. His spiked vessels are perfect examples of this; holding a tea bowl form they are almost unusable because they will pierce the lip that is put to them thus deconstructing and subverting the traditional intentionality of the tea vessel. And yet their forms still cut eye-pleasing silhouettes in space.
His larger sculptures play with the same sense of familiarity and subterfuge. They hold references but they are not tied to dogma, they are always shifting in their patterns of meaning from the way earth holds stones in rain, snow and blistering heat to industrial noise and rough perfection. There is a hint of a primordial past but the works themselves are very much children of a post-industrial age: big, graceful in their heavinesses, loud and punk but ultimately peaceful in the way they faithfully come home to their natural matrix of place.
For further information, please contact Shari Cavin or Randall Morris at 212.226.3768, e: SCavin@cavinmorris.com.