Approved: 22.03.2023

Rowan Huntley

Artist, Maker

Approved: 22.03.2023

I use process and materiality to investigate the dynamic forces of nature and chemical interaction. My work is positioned where art meets science, arising from an affinity for ice and a fascination for geology. Participation in Polar expeditions strengthened my deep appreciation of the frozen world, and together these led me to initiate an ongoing collaboration with Geochemist Dr Joanne Johnson of British Antarctic Survey. 

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Artist Statement

I use process and materiality to investigate the dynamic forces of nature and chemical interaction. My work is positioned where art meets science, arising from an affinity for ice and a fascination for geology. Participation in Polar expeditions strengthened my deep appreciation of the frozen world, and together these led me to initiate an ongoing collaboration with Geochemist Dr Joanne Johnson of British Antarctic Survey. 

I look to the coastline of Gower where I live, and to all aspects of Joanne’s climate science for creative scope, as I seek to develop a visual vocabulary appropriate for the environmental conditions of today. Alongside painting, I create three-dimensional pieces using natural and man made elements, whilst utilising extreme temperature via kiln, flame and freezer. The impact of industrialisation and rising seas, along with ground-breaking scientific analyses and the resilience of the natural world, form the foundation on which my work is placed. I explore the concepts of absence and presence and creation within destruction, bringing together culturally discrete materials which react, stain, engage and reject. These provide unpredictable, atypical outcomes which grant visibility to the invisible and tangibility to the intangible. This new perspective delivers enhanced impact, both to scientific data and to that which hides in plain sight. It contributes positively to a greater understanding of our current environmental situation and to recognising that human beings are a part of the world not apart from it. 

CV & Education

  • 2024: Two assembled sculptures selected for Swansea Open exhibition, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.
  • 2023: Painting selected for Swansea Open exhibition, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.
  • 2019:  Masters exhibition held in the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. 
  • 2019 - present:  Ongoing contemporary Art / Science Collaboration Accessing the science of a Polar geochemist at British Antarctic Survey to bring it new perspective and enhance community engagement.
  • 2017 - 2019:  UWTSD Swansea, MA in Fine Art - Contemporary Dialogues. Graduated with Distinction.

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  • 1992 - 2017:  Landscape painter  - specifically Alpine, rock and ice subjects in the UK and abroad.

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The significant shift in direction within my art practice [after 25 years] from traditional to contemporary arose from the will to delve beneath the surface aesthetics of landscape; to widen my approach in order to explore further my deep emotional connection to the natural environment. 

This new work originates from the same place, my innate respect for planetary evolution and in particular, our frozen world. Consequently, as I continue to uncover a world beyond aesthetic representation, I am expanding my artistic vocabulary to develop a visual language appropriate for the environmental conditions of today.

 

Undertakings of particular note:

  • 2010: Jan/Feb - As the inaugural recipient (after a selection process) of an Artist’s Residency awarded by the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute in association with the Royal Navy, I spent five weeks with HMS Scott on her initial voyage to Antarctica. [Falkland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula and the sub-Antarctic islands.]

 

  • 2010: November - Artist in Residence onboard MV Plancius for Oceanwide Expeditions. [Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctic peninsula and sub-Antarctic islands.]

 

  • 2009: June - Painting expedition to Ilulissat west Greenland. Project supported by the Andrew Croft Memorial Fund and the Gino Watkins Memorial Fund / Edward Wilson Fund.

 

Selected solo exhibitions specifically associated with climate change:

  • ‘Polar Ice - Antarctica's Fragile Beauty’, Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland. Autumn 2012.
  • ‘Polar Ice - Fragile Beauty’  the European Environment Agency, Copenhagen. Dec. 2011 through Jan. 2012.
  • ‘Alps to Antarctica’  The Welsh Government Senedd, Cardiff Bay. June 2010.
  • ‘Voyage Through A Frozen World’ onboard HMS Scott whilst in Cardiff. June 2010.
  • ‘Greenland - Ilulissat's Fragile Ice’  The Welsh Government Senedd, Cardiff Bay. December 2009.

Further history:

  • 1989-1991:  Designer with Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery.
  • 1987-1989: Volunteer Designer with the Hancock Museum of Natural History, Newcastle.
  • 1983-1987:  OND & HND in Design Crafts / Wildlife Illustration, Dyfed College of Art.