The Love Armada
Rowe and Freeman have been acquainted since 1985. They know each other as artistic peers and friends, first in Australia where Rowe hails from and where Freeman moved to at the age of nineteen.They rekindled their friendship during a visit by Freeman in 2014 to Rowe's California atelier.
The Love Armada collaboration began as an experiment – Rowe invited Freeman to paint the surfaces of some of her new work, wondering whether there were ways to push the boundary of the surface finishes on new, large-scale sculptures she had just completed. When Freeman began to cover the surfaces with paint, they both knew – immediately, and with force – that their collaboration was an invitation to a new level of artistic work, and to new ways of being as artists and beyond.
The workflow sequence is simple and spontaneous: Rowe makes the sculptures, and Freeman paints them. They send imagery and sketches to each other, Rowe builds the forms, and the painting is done during Freeman's extended visits to Rowe's atelier. They work side by side on the deck of Rowe's atelier in Silverado, California, under a canopy of trees. Neither knows how the works will turn out until they are finished.
Rowe likes to say that the collaboration is to some extent practical, since the work on these sculptures represent over 60 years of cumulative technical skill on behalf of both artists. However, the nature of the two artists' collaboration goes much further than the constraints of space and time: These works represent a force greater than that of two artists merely working together. The Love Armada speaks to material and psychic realities that transcend the individual in the here-and-now.
To collaborate in this way is to access the true nature of being: Open to all possible futures and realities, especially the ones that transcend the ego and the self-as-artist, into the infinite possibilities of becoming.
The Love Armada confronts in beauty the true nature of living, and composes with the powerful forces with which we, as humans, confront the world.
Melora Koepke November 5th, 2015