Picasso once said In order to create you must destroy and this is exactly what artist Carol Rowling does. Carving into layered canvas with power tools, destruction is the primary act of creating her striking interpretations of the Australian landscape.
Carol's work explores aerial landscape, the view you get looking out of a plane window at 35,000ft down through the layers of clouds to the shapes, patterns and colours below. A perspective Carol derives endless inspiration from on her frequent East - West flights.
Back in her shared North Perth studio Carol uses reference photos and starts to construct landscapes, creating texture by painting with power tools as much as pigment. Deriving incredible satisfaction from creating a pleasing balance of shapes, colours and textures in her artwork.
With a couple of exhibitions currently under way and a year of international art fairs ahead Carol is looking forward to sharing her work with a wider audience. And with many hours in the window seat in front of her we can't wait to see the next iteration of Carol's views from above.
Michelle Saleeba: Why art?
Carol Rowling: I’ve always been interested in art, as a teenager I liked drawing shapes and playing with colour, and it wasn’t till my children had become independent that I started the Preliminary Art and Design course at TAFE which really wetted my appetite to continue on and further my studies. I see art in society as tied up with peoples vision, without the senses as in sculpture - touch; music - hearing; painting - visual; there would be nothing for us to enjoy.
MS: Have there been any formative experiences, or lessons along the way that have impacted on your art making?
CR: I had a drawing lecturer that used to set up a still life for us to draw and after we had spent ages on it trying to perfect it and thinking it was completed would say to me, “That’s a nice drawing dear but what are you going to do with it now?" This started me on the the road of experimentation.
MS: How did you come to use power tools in your work?
CR: My father was a builder and so I grew up with power tools and it seemed natural to introduce these into my art practice. I use an angle grinder to carve into 5 or 6 layers of canvas causing interesting indentations on the canvas and this sometimes blurs the colours together. This method forms interesting textures. I also paint using acrylics and natural ochres that I have collected from the north of Western Australia. In my recent work I have tried to achieve capturing the essence of colour, ruggedness of the Australian landscape through my carving of the canvas. I regard this as an important essence of portraying the landscape through this medium.
MS: What does a typical day of creative work look like for you?
CR: CHAOS as there will be bits of torn, shredded canvas littering my space and fine particles of cotton canvas plus tins of paint and aquadhere.
MS: Who or what are the strongest influences on your art?
MS: What’s essential for creating your art?
CR: My studio, where I can freely express myself, away from normal daily activities four or five days a week.
MS: You've got a big year of exhibitions ahead, where are you off to?
CR: I have an exciting year ahead because I have been invited to participate in the London Art Biennale held at the Chelsea Town Hall, Trevisan International Art in Bologna Italy, also an art Fair with Trevesan International Art in Budapest, Hungary and the Paris art fair with Mona Youssef galleries. At present my exhibition Land, Layers, Life is still on in the Collie Gallery till the 10th February.
MS: What is something most people don’t know about you?
CR: Prior to taking up my art practice I was heavily involved with forming an agency called Inter-life. I am both a foundation member and life member of this amazing organisation, which supports people with disabilities into the work force.