Saturday, December 01, 2012

Adam Rowlett

How Can I be Expected To Believe That Any Of This Is Real - 2012
Lithograph, charcoal, gold leaf
15” x 9” repost

Adam Rowlett just took down his show at the MAC’s partner exhibition space, Mercantile Coffeehouse, to open this weekend at the downtown RO2 Gallery. This extended time to see the work is a real plus in my book, because Rowlett’s prints collide issues of science and religion seamlessly into single compositions.

Rowlett makes powerfully engaging images that begin to question the split between the sciences and religion. In works like ‘Untitled (Apse) and ‘How Can I be Expected To Believe That Any Of This Is Real,’ science and mathematical imagery seem to create a foundation in each picture for the religious imagery. Then Rowlett flips the foundations in ‘Firmament.’ No true separation can be discerned between these two big ideas. It's like Rowlett is proclaiming that both science and religion are necessary and intertwined. I enjoy this provocative approach to such a big issue, because these two modes of thinking don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Much of the work references Catholic gothic churches, though I detect a hint of other religious traditions in the works. I see Druid images, along with possible Yoruba based religions. Many of these faiths have mixed and merged and split from Catholic rituals. The science seems to have a great deal to do with physics and geometry. When viewing the work, I see space and time mix with ideas of the infinite plains of conceptual mathematics.

‘How Can I be Expected To Believe That Any Of This Is Real,’ uses the shape of a church window as a framing device to entrap the triangular lines. Rowlett allows these triangles to become more irregular as the pattern moves up the page. I see this as a clear reference to the move between facts to faith. The black dots along with the image fading, pulls your eyes toward the empty space below the image. Poet, Philosopher Frederick Turner suggests that great ideas are empty centers that give off information, but cannot be quantified. In this piece, I see Rowlett’s circle as a type of empty center, trying to get close to describing religion, but only illustrating the information let loose by the idea. In Rowlett pieces, art is not a lie given to get to a truth, but a lens to see an aspect of the truth of an idea.

Adam Rowlett’s show, “Gothic Abstract” will be up at RO2 Downtown Project gallery. This show continues its partnership with the MAC (McKinney Avenue Contemporary). The opening will be August 18th from 7pm to 9pm. for more images 


Lisa Fulton said...

Todd, this is a well-written and perceptive review. I found Adam Rowlett's blog on tumblr, and I am enjoying the images of his beautiful prints. He has something extra.

Todd Camplin said...

I was an amazing show and I really think the work stood out. Thanks for the comment.