Clive Rowe

About the artist

Clive Rowe
Clive Rowe


United Kingdom


    Clive Rowe Statement

    While I admire beautiful photographs and the technical skills that go into their production, I have long felt that in pursuing photography as an art form, a rethink is necessary. The quest for originality in conventional photography becomes evermore difficult to the extent that the energy of creativity is sapped. I think one should bear in mind that photography began in the mysterious world of the alchemist. The excitement of discovering images in the world of smoke and mirrors gave way in time to a world where ever increasing technical accuracy enabled the medium to become a major way of recording people and events.

    But I think we should step back from this and ask if there are some ideas, aesthetics, philosophies that are better expressed not through sharp images but through forms, shapes and colours which are more atmospheric and maybe more able to hold the viewers attention and to communicate with them.

    Of course there have been many distinguished forays into the direction of abstract images, starting with Schadographs and Rayographs in the 1920’s and continuing to this day with photograms. But these days there are new opportunities with the computer. Allied to this is the huge advance in colour printing that enables the artist to celebrate the use of colour. With this in mind I have taken photos and then manipulated them in the computer. I see the two processes as one to create my abstract image.

    The energy comes from a desire to challenge the conventional and obvious, to overturn the banal and to enliven the ordinary. This is not to shock which seems to me to alienate the viewer but to engage the viewer in a rethink. To date the colours, forms and shapes have been sympathetic and complementary. The cheerful colours have resonated with a wide range of viewers. I see no reason why more challenging shapes form and colours should not also bear fruit.

    There are many influences behind this approach. Firstly, a mischievousness has instilled a desire to see things differently. Secondly, the enjoyment of other works of visual art has certainly had a subliminal effect. I include in these certain twentieth century painters and works in sculptural and functional glass. Thirdly, commissions to produce images to promote jazz have inspired new ideas.

    I feel  that the images should speak for themselves and I have therefore not provided titles as these might distract the viewer. I also believe that many ideas are not seen sharply but as impressions and they are best expressed in similar form. The fact that I may see one meaning and each viewer another is immaterial. That is true of life.

    I have been rewarded by the reaction of viewers. Showing abstract images has certainly produced some unexpected and interesting results. I have had a range of emotional responses. 

    Each image is my copyright. All rights in the images and their use are reserved to me.


    May 2012
    Publication of Alive to the Future Experiments in contemporary photography
    ISBN 978-0-9551038-3-4
    Life. London College of Printing (now London College of Communication part of the University of the Arts London 2004 and 2010). Life again.

    Exhibition History

    June 2011  Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, Chelsea,New York
    May/June 2011  Photosensitive,Great Missenden, Bucks
    Mar/Apr 2011  Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, Chelsea New York
    Mar/Apr 2010  Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, Chelsea, New York
    Nov 2009  The Lansdowne Club, Fitzmaurice Place, London W1
    Nov 2008  The Lansdowne Club Fitzmaurice Place London W1
    Nov 2007  The Lansdowne Club Fitzmaurice Place London W1
    May 2007  The Battersea Contemporary Art Fair Battersea Arts Centre London SW11
    Nov 2006  The Lansdowne Club Fitzmaurice Place London W1
    Nov 2006  The Battersea Contemporary Art Fair Battersea Arts Centre London SW11
    Mar /Apr 2006  54 The Gallery Shepherd Market London W1