Arts & Literature

Art in Paradise: Ramble On

Samuel Rowlett combines studio, gallery, and the environment in his singular exploration of art.

Comments (10)
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Photo By James Heflin
Rowlett examines his handiwork

Outside the Oxbow Gallery rests an odd contraption. A steam kettle sits on a hot plate. From its spout, a piece of garden hose exits. The hose then enters a long rectangular box made of cut-up insulation of some sort. Here and there, a bit of steam leaks out.

It's clear that this isn't a landscape show. It's not at all clear what's happening inside the box until artist Samuel Rowlett comes over to explain. He's steaming wood to bend for the canoe he's making inside. If that were all he was doing, you might think the Oxbow had been taken over by a half-baked (or half-steamed) performance artist.

Enter the Gallery, however, and it seems the place has been transformed into something between a workshop and an exhibition. The effect is strange: a blank canvas with notches in the top holds books. This is clearly "a piece." So is the giant canvas with a backpack attached for carrying. But tools? Probably not "a piece." A video of Rowlett carting the backpack-canvas through the wilderness plays in the corner.

"Sometimes the wind would catch it," says Rowlett, "and I'd go down face first."

When he speaks—and Rowlett is quite animated and articulate—you might eventually catch a hint of pronunciation from other shores. It's only a hint, though—he was born in England, but seems to have absorbed plenty of American speech patterns.

Rowlett didn't start out with heady concepts like carting canvases through the woods; his training was in representational art, and he describes a long-term grind of rendering figures. His work, he explains, largely took place within the usual bounds of a canvas. Then he became a father, and his newfound time constraints demanded a new economy in his work. That led him to wall drawings.

"No more huge canvas," he says. "You just show up with your stuff and draw on the wall."

From there, he branched out to a peculiar brand of art, one which involves and includes a much larger environment than just a studio or gallery; his current project culminates in large-scale wandering with his canoe.

It might be tempting to ask if all this is art, but the best policy by far is to forget that question. Why worry over corraling things into artificial definitions when you could instead be enjoying the incarnations of a particularly interesting imagination?

Rowlett is exploring in many ways. The Oxbow Gallery holds toolboxes, plans, drawings, paintings, video, and even a stack of wood beneath the half-finished canoe. It's become something more like a studio, as if he threw open the doors well in advance of a traditional show. "I'm interested in extending my work out of the studio," says Rowlett. "I want to link the exploration of studio process and our local environment."

That's why he's taking the new canoe down the Connecticut. He's porting at the Holyoke dam, even camping in an alley, en route to another of his exhibitions at Real Art Ways in Hartford.

You've got to admire an artist who will, in pursuit of his art, set forth in the first canoe he's ever built.

Rowlett draws a piece out of the steamer to show me how flexible it's become. He bows it over, hard. It looks impressive. Then it snaps with a loud crack.

"Trial and error," he says, unruffled, even smiling.

Abandoned Meanders exhibition: through May 27; gallery talk with Kim Lutz of the Nature Conservancy: May 29, 7 p.m., Oxbow Gallery, 275 Pleasant St., Northampton.

Comments (10)
Post a Comment

Creating Art out of the box - out of necessity. A well written story that makes the reader consider options that are more sustainable and compatible with our stressed environment. A handmade canoe used to be THE usual mode of transportation hundreds of years ago, now doubles as a focal point in an art exhibit. Good to see the artistry and muse surrounding this artist's views brought to the attention of others in such a creative, non-traditional way.

Posted by Dee Smith on 5.23.12 at 7:28

After meeting with Brown a multitude of times, Robichaud was sold on the benefit to the environment, his business and the community. important site

Posted by hjhjkh on 6.28.14 at 0:08

After conference with Brownish lots of periods, Robichaud was marketed on the advantage to the surroundings, his business and the group. Alexei Beltyukov

Posted by hjhjkh on 8.4.14 at 1:21

However, there are restricted sources available to implement these rules, and a very portion of criminals are caught and charged. Furthermore, as copper robberies are generally resolved as transgressions, those people charged pay relatively low charges and provide brief jail conditions. Stephen Williams wine

Posted by hjhjkh on 8.7.14 at 0:22

I really like it when individuals come together and share thoughts. Great blog, keep it up! play flappy bird online

Posted by david john on 9.2.14 at 3:07

I want to Recommend My artilce here BBM for PC

Posted by solomon on 9.22.14 at 21:50

This is impressive and creative art and its increase my knowledge good . Perfectly timed photos

Posted by TheLoudLough on 9.25.14 at 7:24

Little isn’t a organic when it comes to presentation. She tends to be soft-spoken and keep her go down, targeted on her notices. But once she gets going, her concept is highly effective. Saran Wrap Weight Loss

Posted by JHFHGVJH on 10.3.14 at 8:40

The Buddhist way to all of this is quite genuine, really. Buddhism understands of that from the perspective of ego the opportunities of lack of way of life is generally difficult. The ego cannot think about being deceased. It has no way of it. But there is another aspect of interest that not only can understand it, but already knows about it. There is a saying in the Zen customized, “Birth and lack of way of life are the outstanding problem. Quick Move Now

Posted by hjhjkh on 10.4.14 at 0:06

Cuz I do. A lot. And I'm acquisitive I'm not the alone one, cuz I do it all the time. Seriously; you could ask my friends, you could ask my contacts; that, and I constitutional about being that generally makes no sense. It's like, "So area did you appear up with this?" My one acquaintance asks me that about every time I see her. Sometimes me and my added acquaintance anticipate of camp belief just to abash added people. It's weird, though, cuz she does crazy being with me, yet calls ME the awkward one! I mean, sure, me and some of my added accompany fabricated a arena in Wal-Mart once, but it's not like she was apparent by anyone she knew! Although everywhere we go she says she recognizes someone. Seriously, does she apperceive the accomplished apple or something? But yeah. So I anticipation it was absolutely funny, and she was ambuscade her face. Meh. That's no fun. And yet, she does all sorts of being to abash ME and calls ME the awkward one! It's array of weird. But oh well.

I beggarly some humans accept told me I constitutional afore but that's just because I don't anticipate they were alert to me, because if they were alert they'd apperceive that what I was adage was important. Circuitous agency you're just talking to allocution after authoritative any acceptable credibility or if you're talking just to apprehend your own voice, but I don't do that. Sometimes I allocution a lot but that's because I accept a lot to say, because I'm a actual able getting and I accept a lot of superior thoughts in this academician of abundance and I anticipate it's important for me to allotment them with humans who maybe don't accept such a top superior apperception and appropriately are denied the amusement of getting apparent to such ablaze thoughts 24/7 like I am. I absolutely feel apologetic for humans like that, abnormally the mentally retarded, because they don't get to accept all of these abundant revelations like I do. But anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, that's right, rambling. Yes I anticipate you do ramble, I approved account your catechism but it was absolutely continued and arid and it didn't assume like you had actual abundant to say, admitting I accept a lot to say so the accomplished time I was account it I was just cerebration "blah banausic blah, shut up so I can talk". Like I said, not just because I like to apprehend my voice, but because aggregate I say is absolutely interesting, and you should agree, because if you don't accede again you're apparently just brainless anyhow and who cares what you think. Like, you know? So yeah, no I don't constitutional at

best web hosting in India

Posted by makemya1234 on 10.15.14 at 23:01
Comment:

Name:

Password:

New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
keyword:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

Henceforth and Forever Free
Words Not to Use
The Flush of Acquisition
From auctions and ephemera fairs to hidden-away shops, the Valley is a mecca for antiquarian booksellers.
Searching For Fat
A Poet at Play
Connolly Ryan aims his cunning verse at Northampton.
Steaming Up a Phantasy
Stagestruck: Revisiting Vengeance
The Visit at WTF: A revenge drama with music
Fade to Gold
Zing, a small studio in Westfield, makes big records.