Rowena Gilbert - Artist Designer Maker

Contemporary Ceramics: 'Under the Waves' Series

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Rowena Gilbert Contemporary Ceramics
“Under the Waves” / “Above the Stars”
2 new collections May 2017

"Everything vanishes, falls apart, doesn't it? Nature is always the same but nothing in her that appears to us lasts. Our art must render the thrill of her permanence, along with her elements, the appearance of all her changes. It must give us a taste of her Eternity." Paul Cezanne

For her latest sister collections, “Under the Waves” and “Above the Stars”, Rowena Gilbert has turned to the language of abstraction to evoke the elemental power and ever-shifting dynamism of nature. In doing so, she has relinquished conscious control and freed herself from the constraints of the rational mind. The result is a body of work that communicates not through narrative and figurative forms, but through mood and momentum.

To achieve this freer, more spontaneous aesthetic, Rowena has reinvented her own craft through months of experimentation, invoking the laws of chance and allowing each piece to evolve and reveal itself naturally through the production process. Clay slips are painted on in layers, before being carved into freely and accented with glazes applied intuitively like brush strokes.

With their bold and determined, almost calligraphic marks, both collections exhibit a characteristic oriental influence. Indeed, in “Under the Waves” the viewer senses an unmistakable nod to Hokusai and his Great Wave. There is no overt mimicry of nature here, but bubbles of foaming spray and shadowy tentacles conjure images of violent, stormy seas.

From looking down at the oceans, Rowena turns skywards to consider the chaos and calm of the heavens, in her complementary collection, "Above the Stars". Working with different shades of charcoal and slate to evoke the night sky, the pieces consider the nature of the expanding universe. In swirls of vivid yellow we see galaxies, and Rowena's free, gestural marks hint at the accretion and collapse of stars.