This looks like the hands of a working sculptor who migrated from the Midwest; thick with nicks. They are the paws of David Rowe and one recent evening they looked a little worn. That is no surprise. He has been busy with projects since last summer. When he is not making big wooden or resin things in between teaching undergrads about art objects, his ideas and projects dispatch him out of state.
Back in September at Ball State University, Rowe lectured on how those big wooden things “exist at the intersections of landscape, history and the transitory spaces within the American psyche.” His sculptures were also seen in “Someday, Everything” at Dairy Arts Center (McMahon Gallery) this past October and November. Going even further back to the summer of 2018, he was a PlySpace Summer term artist-in-residence where he created work “focused on documenting social, political and environmental change on the American landscape.”
These hands of a tinker and thinker also have the grip of a poacher. Rowe is not shy about recruiting the right students from the constant pool of painters and designers who take his sculpting courses. I will admit that "poach" is too severe a word. Instead, we can call him an “arts educator encouraging students to expand their practice”. Either way, many have dived in, a response by how he teaches. Some stayed in his material world.
Soon after we first met he made the pitch to me. Nice try. Yet, I liked the way he thought about art. It had me begin to look at all work through a different lens, as an artist and as a writer, so I invited him to be the chair of my committee. It was a legitimate reason to talk, debate, disagree and agree about exhibitions, the state of contemporary art in Nevada and other related issues.
These informal aesthetic debriefings often came with a side of wings and were held at what I call the underground art legacy table. In the evening, Rowe and I sit where some UNLV alums were known to gather occasionally on selected late mornings. That was a habit passed on since their earlier days as grad students, when they migrated from across the street after hearing a lecture by art critic and pirate Dave Hickey, who preferred to pontificate in a former retail space in a small strip mall.
When Rowe and I talked about meeting somewhere off campus to think deeply on ideas and art, I suggested this place. It reeks of anti-academic, pro-art talk. It also has disruptive creative mojo on tap.
ABOVE: Gig Depio
“Through the Muddy”
2017-18 480” x 144”
Oil on Canvas
An Online Arts Journal
February 2 – March 31, 2019
and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019,
4 p.m.–7 p.m.