FEBRUARY TO APRIL 5, 2021
Brent Rowley is a watercolorist who has previously lived in Russia and Japan, but was raised in nearby Arkansas. When I asked him about his medium choice of watercolor, he explained that it was a decision made due to his traveling. While traveling, watercolor for him is the most portable, easy to pack. His inspiration is nature yet some of his work includes architecture. He arrived on the first day of February and extended his two month residency by a week departing in early April experiencing Winter and a week-long snow experience, Spring with the cherry and fruit tree blossoms, and a bit of summer temps thrown in by mother nature for good humor.
He started out using the studio space, but found that his work was freezing overnight so it became more comfortable to use the Raspberry Residency house as the studio which numerous residents have also found to be a suitable live/work space for them. He had two weeks on his own before the next resident, Chao Ding, arrived which gave him the varied living experience of solitude to camaraderie with fellow residents. Through conversations with them both, this seemed to be a wonderful kismet interaction that was better than the MFA studio space Chao had been immersed in recently.
Brent started his time with an image from a visit to Georgia, but his work completely transformed during his residency. With an Art History background, his interest in the masters and master compositions lead to numerous experiments with the geometry and experimental interpretations. Due to the medium of watercolor running, all of his work is done flat whether it be on the floor, a table, or the ground.
My time in the Sarasvati artist residency was nothing short of life changing. I spent two months at the residency building a body of work to apply for graduate schools. I did not really know what direction I wanted my art to go before I came to the residency, but the space lends itself towards unfettered creativity and artistic freedom, allowing me to take my art down new, unforeseen paths. With few distractions, I was able to enter into a routine where I was much more productive than I would have been at home. Being able to go on a meditative walk down to the river or to just step outside and visit with the donkeys helped to keep my mind grounded as I worked. It’s a beautiful place where it’s easy to appreciate the changing nature all around you, a landscape which lends itself to artistic expression no matter what form it takes. I also met great people while I was there and had inspiring conversations while sitting around a campfire or looking at the stars. The artist residency left an indelible impression on my life, and I know that the course of my life will be changed because of it.
As a nature enthusiast and avid camper, Brent got into a daily routine. He spent much time on the 12 acres of land exploring and thinking while his afternoons after working on his art would be on the land projects. Brent chose to assist with harvesting bamboo to carve out a trail for future guests. Conversations with Brent meandered from foraging mushrooms, to art and philosophy, to travel and music. He also brought his mandolin and was seen often on the back deck playing or reading.
Brent made great friends with the camp cats - Cutey and Buttercup, and they miss him dearly after his departure. Brent has talked about returning again in the future so we eagerly anticipate alumni making their future plans. Brent's portfolio.