And in autumn 2016 he arranged for his equipment and materials to be shipped out to southern Italy where the archaeological site of Paestum became his most recent subject. Built between 600 and 450 BC with the remains of 3 massive Doric temples, he worked there every day for 3 weeks making a series of paintings of the coastal landscape and the temple architecture that are central in this exhibition.
Working directly in front of the subject Rowlett delights in the properties of thick paint. His relationship with his materials is physical and unpredictable; each painting nurtured into existence in response to the constantly changing weather and light that confronts him. They are paintings that combine authority and spontaneity in an effort to seize and hang onto the endless stream of momentary and elusive events occurring in front of him.
In the exhibition catalogue Andrew Lambirth comments that:
In the intensity of the moment, he must follow his inner promptings and the direction of two forces: the paint and appearances. Their reconciliation is the triumph of Rowlett’s endeavour; needless to say, it doesn’t always succeed. But when it does, the result is vigorous and inventive realism, a way of looking at the world which is based on direct experience and endless observation, but which yet understands and values the importance of making art not reportage. Rowlett responds to the sensuous charge in buildings and landscape and marries this to his deep appreciation of the sensuality of paint. Oil paint is his medium, and he revels in it. His is a generous and celebratory vision.
Born in Troon on the West Coast of Scotland in 1941, George Rowlett attended Camberwell School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. He has been exhibiting at Art Space Gallery for over two decades and his work is in public and private collections worldwide.