TILT Contemporary Art
16/84 Cumberland Drive, Varsity Lakes, Qld 4227, Australia
Phone (07) 55934633
CHRIS ROWE – The Universal Personal (CV at end of this article)
Revised and updated March 2008, Copyright: Dr. Manfred Krautschneider
Melbourne Artist Chris Rowe has worked as a professional artist since completing her BA (Fine Arts) at Monash University in 1989. She continues to explore the human condition with the assurance of a mid career artist. Her beautifully composed works are richly nuanced and complex in content, narrative and feeling. Despite a light and sensitive touch, her drawings, mixed media and paintings are moody and often challenging, incorporating several layers of meaning.
Her style has evolved into a refined synthesis of painting, drawing, collage, and text, usually incorporating the figure and landscape. Her unique narrative style was enabled by a steadfast development tangential to the mainstream of postmodern practice. The works can be read as quite personal in content, but our response to the emotional content is universally shared.
Chris Rowe, “Last Conversation” 2008
This work concerns the feelings evoked following the last conversation I shared with my grandmother. It was her 109th birthday May 31 2007. I wanted to portray her enduring spirit, strength and dignity amidst the extreme frailty such an age delivers.
Chris’ works are an exploration of psycho-social issues, particularly as they affect women. From the earliest sensuous and visceral oils exploring sexuality, and the bleak classicist post apocalyptic counterpoints, to the award winning mixed media collages investigating romantic ideals, alienation, life and death in the modern relationship, and more recently the languid but conflicted mother and child drawings and paintings, the content and style draw us to contemplate the beauty and pain of life and death.
Chris Rowe, “Picnic Point” 2003
Chris' life experience, and time spent as a nurse, have brought her into close contact with a wide variety of people and situations. This has fostered an intimacy with the body, stripped to expose the self, vulnerable, subject to notions of loss, anger, bewilderment, discomfort, or disquiet. These qualities fuel the subtext and inform the content and tone of much of her work.
Chris Rowe “Afterburn” Mixed Media on paper, 2000
Often a conflagration of limbs appear as naturally as the nude in the interior or landscape. Everyday objects, such as the couch in the landscape, are imbued with symbolic meaning. In other works a feeling of stillness is created within crowded spaces echoing the need for self-assertion in the face of potential alienation and isolation of modern life. The figure contained carries no greater weight than its surroundings, implying an exploration of active desires versus passive acceptance.
Working in a mix of media (oils, inks, charcoal, pastels, acrylic & collage) her work is of the universal personal, an exploration of the psyche.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT AND PROCESS
“The constant thread weaving throughout my work is the interaction of people with each other, and the beauty and pain of life. They gather, confer, explore, examine and nurture themselves, each other and their environment.
I work in a variety of media – oils, inks, charcoal, pastels, acrylic & collage.
The use of collage is an important aspect of my work. It strengthens the subtext of the original idea, creates texture as well as attesting to issues of impermanence and consumerism. The technique used echoes geological layers, passage of time, decay and environmental effects on man and his objects. The images are rather subdued as if overpowered by nature’s vastness.
The works are also narratives. I invite the viewer to create their own dialogue as they explore the works
My art practice began by painting in oils, strongly influenced by the impressionists and postimpressionists in their use of strong colour. Constantly experimenting to achieve a personal aesthetic and psychological qualities within the works, a door opened when I began using collage. The immediacy of expression using this medium created its own momentum. I was able to make changes quickly without waiting days for the oils to dry.
I use collage as a drawing tool, a painting tool, and in creation of texture with layers. It became a springboard for the use of text in my work to expand on the initial idea. In all the works there is a strong sense of drawing with the images transformed by line. In some recent oils I have broken away from the line and allowed the colour to escape explosively, enabling the form to interplay with an abstracted space.
The work in all mediums begins as free floating scattered chaos awaiting organization and resolution. At this point I work mainly from the subconscious. The superficial, is then destroyed in part and reworked, echoing the search for meaning. The addition of washes, and a slower process of successive layers, allows the work to evolve and develop. There follows a constant back and forth with the addition of whatever complementary medium I need to convey the concept.
Chris Rowe “Open Cut” Mixed Media on Paper, 1997
I like to create an ambiguous feeling, a visually intriguing uncertainty, allowing the viewer to bring their own perceptions to the works, to create their own dialogue, not necessarily lock them into mine.”
STATEMENTS FROM SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
“GATHERINGS” Mixed Media on Paper
In December 2004, the exhibited works included the psycho-social “Gatherings. Groups of people gather in unspecified happenings; a collective unconscious search for meaning perhaps. Some interact, nurture and support. Others sense isolation. All works are infused with a sense of stillness, waiting and longing. The figures barely emerge from, but blend with their surrounds, and are anchored in their presence.” They are part of the social fabric, some active, but mostly passive participants in an event yet to be played out. Patient and hopeful, this is the show, waiting for the show to begin.
Chris Rowe “The Viewing” Mixed Media on Paper, 2004
“In society the child is revered and precious. Maternal instinct is explored in a series of drawings and collages. The modern Mother and Child are stripped bare and exposed.
Qualities of tenderness, nurture, protection, worship, adoration, reverence, awe, sense of pride, innocence, and vulnerability are contained within the works. But they also embody, wanting to be needed and needing to be wanted.
People’s lives change dramatically following the birth of a child, generating stresses that override the euphoria surrounding the birth. And yet some parent’s lives are fulfilled only with the advent of the child.”
Chris Rowe”Mother of Pearl” Mixed Media on Paper 2005
“My life is constantly touched by the struggles faced by those suffering the wide-ranging effects of illness. Each moment of existence becomes precious. A huge change in perception of the important things in life often occurs. People’s lives take u-turns and unravel but the undeniable challenge is THE WAIT.
The wait for diagnosis, for treatment to begin, while the treatment occurs, for the effects of the treatment, for results, for appointments, in the emergency departments, on waiting lists, at the train station, taxi rank, airports, traffic jams, for the baby to settle, for change, for resolution.”
© Dr. Manfred Krautschneider,
Tilt Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone (03) 9752 5599, 04202 250 274
and Chris Rowe (quoted artist)
1989 BA Fine Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic.
2008 Snippets : TILT Contemporary Art, Belgrave, Vic
2005 Precious : TILT Contemporary Art Gallery, Ferntree Gully, Vic
2003 Between : TILT Contemporary Art Gallery, Ferntree Gully, Vic
2003 Travelling : TILT Contemporary Art Gallery, Ferntree Gully, Vic
2001 Shades Of a Soul : Bulle Galleries Flinders St, Melbourne, Vic.
FINALIST IN ART PRIZES AND SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2008 Williamstown Festival Contemporary Art Prize, Williamstown, Vic
2007 2007 ANL Maritime Art Prize, Docklands, Vic
2007 17 August Caulfield Grammar School, Wheelers hill Campus, Vic
2007 2 August Youth Empowered Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH), Melbourne, Vic
2007 The Cancer Council Victoria Arts Awards, 15W Gallery, Melbourne Vic
2007 6 July – 2 August MARZIART International Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2007 The Nillumbik Prize, Montsalvat, Vic
2006 Salon de Montsalvat, Landscape Painting & Printmaking, Montsalvat, Vic
2006 The Continental Hotel Summer Exhibition, Sorrento, Vic
2006 Caulfield Grammar 25th Professional Artists Exhibition, Wheelers Hill,Vic
1989 National Student Art Prize: Mitchell University, Bathurst, NSW
2007 Mural, Emergency Department, Sandringham Hospital, Vic
2005 Ansell Corporation, Richmond, Vic
1994 The Australian Nursing Federation (Vic Branch)
2003 Highly Commended, Acquisitive Landscape Art Prize, Daylesford, Vic
2001 Reproduction of the work (After Burn 2000)
1 Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium’s Annual Report’s cover
2 Produced as a banner to advertise 2001 Daffodil Day Awards
3 Is currently on loan to the Anti Cancer Council
1998 Winner (Open Cut 1997) Visual Arts Award Anti Cancer Council,Vic
1994 Highly Commended, VTU Exhibition, Caulfield gallery, Vic
The installation of the interactive mural FOUR SEASONS 2007, in the Sandringham Hospital Emergency Department, 193 Bluff Rd, Sandringham during February 2007.
New works exhibited in Hamburg, Germany during July and August 2007.
1985-2007 Consistently exhibiting in a variety of group shows throughout Australia.
The following is a selection of earlier exhibitions:
2003 Acquisitive Landscape Art Prize & Exhibition: Pantechnicon Gallery Daylesford
2003 Smorgan Cotemporary Art Prize: Williamstown Festival: Williamstown
2003 Daffodil Day Arts Award 2003: Telstra Exhibition Centre Melbourne
2002 Ergon Energy Central Queensland Art Award 2002 : Rockhampton Art Gallery
2002 Contemporary Art prize : Williamstown Festival : Williamstown
2001 Facing the Challenge : Daffodil Day Art Awards 2001 : Telstra Exhibition Centre.Melbourne
2000 Removing The Mask : Daffodil Day Arts Award 2000: St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne
2000 Swan Hill National Print and Drawing Show : Swan Hill.
2000 Mira Fine Art EAP Flinders St : Melbourne
1999 At The Crossroads : Daffodil Day Arts Award 1999 : St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne
1998 The Journey Within : Daffodil Day Arts Award 1998 : St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne
1997 Art Working : Working Art Visual Arts Prize: Steps Gallery Carlton
1997 Mixed Platter : Ballarat Fine Art, Warrnambool & Bendigo Regional Galleries
1996 Mixed Platter : Vic Health Access Gallery, National Gallery Victoria
1996 Dominique Segan Drawing Prize : Castlemaine
1995 Spring Festival of Drawing : Mornington Art Prize : Mornington.
1995 Hugh Ramsay Religious Art Award : Essendon.
1994 The Art of Nursing : Steps Gallery. Carlton
1994 Grand Central Gallery : City Art Public Space. Melbourne
1994 VTU Exhibition : Caulfield Arts Complex : Caulfield.
1993 Form Figure Fragment : Caulfield Arts Complex
1993 Swan Hill National Print and Drawing Show : Swan Hill.
1993 Earthworks : Moorabbin Arts Expo : Moorabbin.
1992 VTU Exhibition : Caulfield Arts Complex : Caulfield.
1992 Swan Hill National Print and Drawing Show : Swan Hill.
1991 VTU Exhibition : Caulfield Arts Complex : Caulfield.
1991 Gallery at Tolarno : St Kilda