Samuel Rowlett, still from "Landscape Painting in the Expanded Field," 2013-Ongoing
Samuel Rowlett, still from "Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself (Walk with the Woods)," 2013
A 10 mile trek from forest to city, while dragging a forested mobile landscape culled from saplings, ferns, moss, and earth found near my home and placed in a golden rectangle.
Samuel Rowlett, still from A Thing Not Planned for Imagery or Belief(En Plein Air), 2013-Ongoing
Samuel Rowlett is an artist and writer living in Western Massachusetts. His work can be viewed at samuelrowlett.com.
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The fifth blackbird says it best, in Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and offers an interesting conceptual examination of the importance of space as an integral function of aesthetic processes:V I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after. Here space, in the form of time, creates a kind of echo chamber in the ears and mind. Space gives Stevens the time to understand and appreciate the full beauty of a thing, in this stanza space is an equal to the event itself. The poem questions whether one comprehends something while it is happening or in the space after it has happened.Similarly, in John Cage’s composition, “Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds” in which the musicians are instructed not to play their instruments, it is the members of the audience (coughs and all) who fill the space of the score. Here 4’33” serves as a mirror of self-consciousness, reflecting an awareness of the space the audience occupies in the theater and the role listening plays in forging connections to the world.If we think of architecture, perhaps it is not the building itself but the space the building creates that is of most importance to us? Moreover, if we follow this logic, perhaps there is more going on in-between the buildings than inside them? The public spaces: the piazza, the town square, the green, the commons, the streets serve as places of meeting, of coming together, of dialogue, places of protest, of catalyst, of understanding and misunderstanding, places of change.If we think of drawing, of mark-making, might we consider that the space between the marks is just as important as the marks themselves?Is what is edited out of the work just as important as what is kept in it?If science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, is the absence of a thing still the thing?