“I have always had a strong connection with the abstract form. Having grown up surrounded by mostly abstract contemporary art in Belgium and a couple of decades later having studied the language of form, and more specifically abstract form, at a local studio for several years, my sculptural language is purely abstract.”
Born and brought up in Belgium, Rosemarie moved to England to study in 1974. She came to sculpture from teaching – French, German and Art – and then working as a freelance translator in the specialist fields of Art and Education.
She started working as a sculptor in the late 1990s, soon moving from mostly figurative work to abstract forms. In the early stages of her sculptural career she worked in clay, which was then cast in plaster, resins or bronze.
She also carves in stone, predominantly marble and alabaster, and wood.
In the spring of 2008 she was fortunate to be able to travel to Carrara in Italy and spent some time in and around Pietrasanta working with the local marble. She said at the time “my time there has proven a real turning point in my sculpture career in several ways, but primarily it has engendered in me a love for marble, `il tormento e l`estasi nel cavar marmi`.”
2012 was another turning point, when she re-embraced her love of clay and joined a local pottery studio for a few months to reacquaint herself with the ceramicist`s techniques. Staying true to her material and process, and her identity as a sculptor (rather than a ceramicist), she now creates monochrome ceramic sculptures. These are fired to what is referred to in ceramics as earthenware temperatures and are not glazed, because: “I feel the shiny layer glazing creates acts too much like a barrier between the viewer and the piece. It shuts you out.”
She says of her recent `form-finding` pieces: “I have been working on fine-tuning my technique for creating three-dimensional, air- and light-filled forms straddling ceramics and sculpture, i.e. creating fired clay pieces using ceramics hand-building techniques whilst holding to sculpture`s principles and language of form. I am combining the (Gutai inspired) principles of artist / material interactions with the concept of form finding, i.e. letting the form shape itself; working in partnership with the material, homing in on the properties and behaviour of the material – clay – and so calling form into existence.”
Sculptures by rosemarie powell
Artist in Residence at The Tunnel Gallery, Tonbridge School, Kent - Autumn term 2015.