Approved: 04.07.2011

Ben Rowe

Artist, Project manager, Technician

Approved: 04.07.2011
  • Location: Bristol, South West
 

Biography

 

Ben Rowe grew up fascinated by the aesthetics of science fiction film and television props from the 1980s and 1990s. Mechanical, robotic and part-organic objects, sometimes functional but always mysterious, inform the sculptural works he continues to produce. Initially made from bare MDF, the artist now uses black Valchromat, another wood fibre product, within his works. Rowe utilises the particularities of the material to sculpt forms that recall talismanic objects from an unknown, perhaps dystopian, future.

‘Body Clock (Sanctuary Doesn’t Exist)’ (2013), for instance, is reminiscent of both a tool part for cutting and of the articulated legs of a rare spider or scorpion. Like many of Rowe’s works, it is an unsettling hybrid assembled from a variety of found and imagined sources and mis-remembered objects. ‘Unobtainable Power’ (2015), made from plastic tubing, black Valchromat and treated with satin varnish, is a work with similarly articulated limbs, this time recalling the natural form of a tightly-closed flower bud. These are works that are impossible to pin point in time or space. They are coded and secretive objects.

All of Rowe’s sculptures are highly detailed and labour intensive. A single piece can take up to six months to painstakingly construct from scratch. Exactitude can also be found in the symmetry inherent to the sculptures. Individual pieces are measured out, cut and glued with hand and machine tools – there are no digital technologies involved in the design or production of the works. His low-fi methodology is significant not only in reference to the filmic props but also to the final form of the sculpture, where details of the construction can be discerned through Rowe’s craftsmanship. The works are only part-planned in the artist’s mind, often with very few drawings or plans made beforehand. This allows each sculpture to develop more freely, every one emerging through the processes of their own making.

 

Rowe lives and works in Bristol, UK.

CV & Education

Solo exhibitions

2011 - INCUBE8 VIII, Second Star to the Right and Straight on Until Morning , MOTORCADE/FLASHPARADE, Bristol

2011 - Second Star to the Right and Straight on Until Morning, Mission Gallery, Swansea

2009 - ONE, Part 5, Container, Bristol

 

Group exhibitions

2013 - RWA Annual Open Exhibition, RWA, Bristol

2013 - Charity Shop Tour Shop, Coventry

2012 - RWA Autumn Open Exhibition, RWA, Bristol

2011 - Creative Machines/Minimalist Sculpture, TROVE , Curzon Street Station, Birmingham

2009 - Exeter Contemporary Open, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter

2009 - Two is One, None is One, Back Lane West, Redruth, Cornwall

2007 - The Wrong Place, Pro Cathedral, Bristol Curated projects

2008 - Thingerimmergum, Test Space, Bristol

 

Public commissions

2010 - Catalogue number: 9906753, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol