Nick Dawes creates complex colour arrangements with fluid forms and thus pursues a new quality of painterly abstraction. The ostensibly impulsive painterly gestures of his paintings are, however, achieved by an exact plan that leaves almost nothing to chance. The artist distils abstract forms from the formal particularities of road signs or other sign-like quotidian objects, which he then captures as pencil drawings and transfers to the canvas with thinned poured oil paint. In a controlled way, the paint is poured onto and soaked by unprimed canvases laying on the floor or propped against the wall. The artist succeeds in steering the liquid paint into the previously sketched forms by moving the canvas. In this long, almost meditational process, the next colour will only be applied after the already painted layers are dry. Amorphous, seemingly organic fields of colour, overlayed and overlapping, emerge in this manner, and yet they are always clearly separated.
From a purely material perspective, the works of Nick Dawes are merely two-dimensional surfaces. He does not apply the colour on the canvas; rather he soaks the fabric with colour, which blends with the base to form a new unity. The separate fields of colour overlap and interpenetrate each other and thus suggest a sequentiality in both space and time. The initially applied colour is also in the imagined space of the painting in the rear and disappears partially or entirely behind subsequent layers of colour. The fluidity and process-like quality enable space for reflection on the historicity of the act of painting and of life itself. Every colour field on a painting by Nick Dawes is, therefore, both: The result of a composition based on sketches and visible trace of a past painterly action. However, above all, his paintings are literal abstractions that transform what has been seen to painting, which develops a life of its own, freed from the duty to represent something. The functionality of the real object that gave the artist the impulse for his painting is suspended. The painting follows only its self imposed, art-inherent laws: colour, form, harmony, dissonance.
The process of the creative act also plays a decisive role in the sculptures and sculptural objects of Susanne Roewer. These draw their tension from a combination of diverse, contrasting materials. Hard metal meets fragile glass.
In some of Susanne Roewer’s works, glass joins silver-plated bronze to such an extent that the transparent glass corpus adapts to the solid metal and thus reflects on its own process of formation. The glass is blown in temperatures over 1000 °C and shaped on the bronze corpus, and in its amorphous structure adjusts to the metal. To avoid cracks in the fragile glass body, the metal has to be heated to the same temperature as the molten glass, and it has to be cooled slowly with supervision. There are other works where a polished brass rod, which opens like a flower with multiple cushiony forms, grows out of a seemingly intangible glass bubble laid directly on the floor. Here, the glass-clad air carries the apparently much more massive brass object. The laws of nature seem to be suspended.
This playful challenging of the reason through artistic mastery is characteristic for the work of Susanne Roewer, who studied Materials Science and Engineering prior to her art degree at the Hdk, Berlin (today UdK, Berlin University of the Arts). Even before she began working with various collectors and sponsorship programmes in Switzerland, she organised the G7 Berlin Network Gallery with Gregor Hildebrandt and Marc Pätzold, showcasing a range of exhibitions developed by artists for artists. Her works have been on view at numerous art institutions worldwide, most recently at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (both in the USA) and at the Kunstverein Gütersloh (Germany). Her works are part of numerous national and international collections, such as the Farhang Foundation at the Craft and Folk Art Museum San Francisco.
Nick Dawes lives and works in London. He completed his BA of Fine Arts at the Brighton Polytechnic in 1992, after completing a foundation course at the Gloucestershire College of Art and Technology. In 2006 Nick Dawes was nominated for the Celeste Art Prize and his work was shown in numerous exhibitions, among others the Cell Project Space in London, Gallery Lucy Mackintosh in Lausanne, the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, Galerie Kornfeld's project space 68projects in Berlin, and last year in the US at the Expo Chicago and Untitled Miami. His works are part of many public and private collections in Germany, Europe and abroad, among others in the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, which recently acquired a large work of the artist for its collection.