Visiting Artist Lecture with Stephen Bowers

Date: 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Location: 

Ceramics Studio

bowersPresented By Ceramics Program

Reflecting the influence of textiles, wallpapers, comic strips, natural history illustration and childhood memories, the work of Stephen Bowers brims with ideas and imagery that trace their origin to both historical and contemporary sources. Knowledge of ceramic decorative technique allows him to use these sources in his on-going interpretations of motifs such as cockatoos, kangaroos and willow patterns. His work is a sustained investigation into hand painted imagery and how it might be applied to the ceramic surface. Appreciation of this approach is a key to understanding how he develops and composes his imagery and achieves the complexity of resolution in his work. Bowers is locally represented by Ferrin Contemporary .

This event is free to the public. RSVP to Kathy King at kking@fas.harvard.edu. Space is limited.

Artist Biography:
Initially from Sydney, Australia, Stephen Bowers became involved in ceramics in the late 1970s when looking for a challenge while teaching in a country town in South Australia. He did a traineeship in the Jam Factory's ceramic workshop in Adelaide in 1982, and spent the next five years as an art teacher during the day and a potter at night. There was a strong influence in the early years from the Adelaide version of Funk ceramics, known locally in Australia as Skangaroovian Funk. In 1990, Bowers was appointed head of the ceramics workshop at the Jam Factory, managing all aspects of training, workshop production, artist studios and residencies. Maintaining his own practice, he continued to exhibit widely and to undertake public and private commissions. His work is often functional in form, including mugs, jugs, teapots, plates and large platters, extending to monumental urns, jardinires and sculptural forms. For large thrown forms, he collaborates with Mark Heidenreich who is an expert thrower. Bowers uses ceramic forms as a blank canvas, on which he creates complex and multi-layered images. His painting and drawing skills, and the way these are expressed within the ceramic medium, are considerable, but the images are more than mere decoration. His striking, collage-like compositions are, at once, both familiar and strange. For, as well as their detailed lyrical appeal, his works often contain cooler subtexts of surrealistic disjuncture, critique and commentary.

Stephan Bower's participation in this event is assisted by the Government of South Australia via an Arts SA Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to research collections of blue and white ceramics in the USA, the UK and Europe.

Photo Credit: top: courtesy of the artist; middle: Terry Golding; bottom: Grant Hancock