This week FAD will be interviewing artists from the group show ‘System Failure’ which opens THIS Thursday . Here we have Rowena Harris
** Make sure you enter Rowena Harris’s competition details: HERE
1.If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
That’s a tricky one – nothing art related at all? I’d probably be a graphic designer, which I kind of do already with Misery Connoisseur Magazine. Although as a child I wanted to be a surgeon or pathologist for quite a while…which probably lives on in my love for crime dramas.
2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
With my new work I have been grappling with what feels like a complex but important current issues – or my experience of the world at the moment. I am interested in the way that perception changes between tangible things, objects (sculpture) and through the screen or an online digital distributed form. Working with sculpture (and a sculptural language) where the work is understood through its weight, form and importantly a bodily or holistic relationship with the viewer is important to me, and I see it as very different to experiencing the work through a screen and a digital form. But because of the increased use of the Internet and because this is the way in which the work is very often received, I have come to accept that the online form that the work takes is an important element. I try to use this in a creative way that translates tangible to digital and not just an outlet for documentation. This importance in including the body in the act of perception has been key to the development of new work, and I intentionally incorporate “felt” material gestures to do this. I have taken to creating each work in parts, whereby I hope each part of the work can be received and appreciated individually but when all the other parts are received perhaps in different times and places (on and offline); the understanding of the total work is extended or augmented.
3. How do you start the process of making work?
That I don’t really know – I’m not sure I start but I try to keep a continuous cycle. I am often making more then one work at once or have many material tests, starting points or components that morph and sometimes combine into one work, or often I’ll have one work that then split the ideas into two or more works. “Making” in a physical sense often goes hand in hand with creating digital work that I see as the same piece or body of work, as well as reading, thinking and chatting to friends who are great, and immensely smart artists…to answer your question in terms of “making” in a physical sense, probably when I have chewed things over enough and how to do something becomes suddenly clear…and then I might make a lot quite quickly. This process is greatly speeded up with the addition of deadlines and such.
4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
Very much so. I am trying to communicate thoughts and issues that come from my own experience – which I hope is part of a shared experience. I am interested in the viewer’s perception (as well as my own) and try to actively incorporate the viewer in the understanding of the work. For example I often use “standard” “base” or what I hope are something like “Archetypes” of objects and things in the world – such as the standard promo t-shirts included in Accreted Part 1. This is with the intention for them to be unspecific and access a wider shared memory.
5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work.
(…old school, not that “cool” but at least honest – some of the first artists I learnt about and I keep coming back to…)
6. What defines something as a work of art?
I am not sure I am qualified to answer that question. It requires defining “art” and then what you mean by the term “work of art”- does it mean an amazing feat of skill and creativity, and something of incredible quality? – and so anything like this from ballet, to Monet, speadsheets and amazing financial structures. Or is it defining a work as of art? – and so that leads into trying to figure out what art is.
But! If you were to say “What defines something as a work of contemporary art” (which is much smaller discussion) – I would say something like – a work that is presented as art or to an art audience, that comments, critiques or highlights contemporary concerns.
7. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
Pollock – I would like to checkout what was going on in this male-ego driven era.
8. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?
“Your work is about the material, immaterial and circulation, and the crux in which they meet brings about the production of work.” – Emily Rosamond, in a studio chat. She is smart. This phrase has helped me continually.
9. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?
Aleksandra Domanovic, in his paper stack series. Wish I had thought of this and whish I had realised somebody was doing something so interesting with paper before started stacking things myself.
10. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
Philosophically in making? – nope. Each material has the same value to me whether it is marble or plaster. Realistically in making? – Yes. We all have a budget to stick to of course. In selling? – besides covering the cost of production, as an artist you have to be a part of the art market system, which I am not necessarily against, but the price that is chosen is sometimes a way of defining where you are as an artist – so yes, it is important to care a little.
11. What’s next for you?
Starting on the 1st September I will be doing a week residency organised by Peer Sessions at Enclave. I have been selected to work with Joey Holder and Tom Trevatt – it will be interesting and oodles of fun! On the Friday we will present something as an opening in the evening – we are the last in the series of four weeks and four groups of artists.
On the 27th of September I am also participating in a group show with Sovay Berriman, Dean Kenning and Ines Rebelo (who is also in Systems Failure) called Starseed Transmission and again at Enclave.
And also I am currently working on a new body of work (that I am quite excited about) for a solo project that opens on the 25th October at Coleman Projects – whilst also working with the team at Misery Connoisseur organising a project for next year .